The Denver game was a lot of fun. It was exactly as we expected it to be, with the crowd very much into the game and quite vocal against our team. The Denver players were pretty intense as well, to a level more than what you'd normally find during a preseason game. I think that kind of a situation becomes positive motivation if everybody is yelling at you.
You want to get the crowd out of the game as quickly as possible. The first string did a great job on that. Things had quieted down quite a bit by the time I got in during the second half.
The actual traveling part of that day was much easier for me than the first away game. It made quite a difference understanding the routine. We got home pretty late, and now we have to refocus and get ready for the Thursday night game against Cleveland.
This will be a new experience for me, playing two pro-level games just a few days apart. I guess the main thing to do, other than to watch game film and learn the plays, is to rest as much as possible. I have the feeling, though, that once we're down at Soldier Field, any sense of being tired will disappear immediately.
Today, I was asked about Dusty Dvoracek's departure from the team. I didn't know him that well, but from what I could tell, he was a really good guy. It's always sad to see that happen to any player, whether he is a close friend or not. We all wish him the best and hope he has a quick recovery.
Another question I got was whether or not seeing a player go down like that has any effect on the rest of the players. For example, are we more careful overall? Do we try to protect our bodies from injury?
Obviously, when somebody like that gets hurt it does affect you, but only briefly. Since I've been playing in college and at this level, I've found that when guys are trying to protect themselves, that is when bad things happen. It throws you out of your normal playing mode.
It may be a shift of focus,.I'm not really sure, but I've definitely seen that. I think what you have to do is recognize the circumstance, then move on and put that completely out of your mind. If you don't do that, you can't play at an effective level.
I'm not sure yet how Dusty's departure will impact my overall playing time. This is the first day we've been back at Halas Hall since he left. I'm sure that the coaches will let me know if they end up needing me out there in an expanded role. As I said before, the more I am playing, the more I learn. That's the ideal situation.
We're looking at game film today. I'll be studying what Cleveland's offense is doing. I'm not sure if I'll be put in as a defensive end or a defensive tackle, but I want to be prepared for either role. As long as I'm on that line, it's fine with me.
I've been asked if I notice a difference in what I do in terms of overall production as it shows up on the game film from college as opposed to the game film from the Bears.
I had to laugh a little when I heard that because, at this point, there's a huge difference. In college, I was out there all the time making the plays. Now with the Bears, it's clear that I'm learning the system. That is the case with every rookie. It's a big adjustment going from a playmaker to a role player. I think the goal for all of the rookies is to step it up so we're making an impact here, as well.
We're going into the last preseason game. It's been a good experience and I've learned a lot, but I'm ready for the games that count. I feel good physically, and my outlook is positive. This experience is going to be great.
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