Chicago Bears rookie Evan Rodriguez is listed on the depth chart as the club’s starting fullback. A tight end at Temple, Rodriguez has taken to his new role as an F-back, a hybrid tight end/fullback position.
As a lead blocker in the run game, Rodriguez has been extremely valuable. His physicality at the line of scrimmage has been the key to Chicago’s rushing attack so far.
We caught up with Rodriguez as he prepares for this weekend’s matchup against the St. Louis Rams.
“Everything is looking good for me personally so far. I’m about where I thought I’d be at this point in terms of playing time. My learning curve is manageable and physically I’m feeling fine.
“Last week was a difficult game to say the least. The atmosphere up at Lambeau Field was so incredibly intense. It wasn’t as if we were taken by surprise or anything, it was just that we weren’t executing the things we had worked on in practice all week.
FB Evan Rodriguez
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“In college I remember some games like that, times when you just wanted to take back everything that happened and start all over again. Unfortunately that isn’t an option, so we’re using what we can as a learning experience. Seeing the mistakes on the film, then correcting the mistakes in practice.
“We had prepared for the noise level in Green Bay, so that was only one minor factor in the outcome of the game. It was frustrating that we weren’t executing as we knew we could. I can’t offer an explanation but I will say that all of us will do everything we can to be sure something like that does not happen again.
“At a time like that, selective memory can be your best friend. You do want to remember what you did right. You have to forget about the rest of it.
“It was a productive week on the practice field. As far as the Rams are concerned this weekend, we have a strong game plan in place. Since the last game was on a Thursday, we have an extra few days going into this weekend to rest and heal. That’s always a positive.
“Every day I’m learning more about football, about football awareness. Just because I’ve played this game since grade school, that doesn’t mean I am anywhere near where I need to be in terms of the professional level. I am trying to be as versatile as possible so the coaches have confidence in using me wherever I am needed.
“I’m learning the value of pacing myself. Most times when I have a free minute, I study the playbook. There’s so much to absorb in it. I have set times for conditioning and for rest. It’s important to formulate a schedule and stick to it. That way things don’t overwhelm you.
“A loss like we had last week is a learning experience for me as well. This is our job, not something we do on the side, so it is our responsibility to excel at all times. I also learned that perhaps it’s best not to read what the media says about the team. We know what is going on in the locker room and on the field. Other people can interpret what they think is happening but unless they are actually here, they don’t necessarily know for sure.
“Going on from here, I am looking forward to more playing time. I am hoping I can prove that I belong on the team and that I am of value when I am on the field.”
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.