Everybody always talks about how much faster the NFL is compared to college football.
But for rookies, that point is never truly driven home until they actually get out on the field and experience it themselves.
Such was the case for the Bears rookies in the preseason opener, a 27-10 win over the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field Thursday.
"It's fast," defensive lineman and second-round pick Eddie Goldman said, repeating the phrase one more time for emphasis. "But it's preseason and I know it's gonna speed up even more."
Goldman rotated in with the first-team defense at nose tackle and was credited with only one tackle, but got into the backfield several times, disrupting the Dolphins' flow.
The Florida State product said he spent a lot of time studying up on plays and what he should do in situations before just letting instinct and his reactions take over once the ball was snapped.
"When you're playing, you can't really think, you gotta react," Goldman said. "But at the same time, you gotta be conscious of the technique. You're not supposed to think; you're supposed to react.
"But pre-play when you're in your stance and the QB's set up, you gotta play the play in your mind and think about what you're gonna do. And then when the ball is snapped, that's when the thinking stops."
Goldman acknowledges that he has plenty of work to do - especially after the experiece of his first preseason game - but he thinks he can be a playmaker in the Bears defense.
But that doesn't mean he expects to be a starter from Day 1 of the regular season.
"I've learned to play my part and play my role and things will come," he said. "There are a lot of veterans here and I realize that I need to take advantage of that and soak up all the knowledge that they have, learning everything I can from the guys around me and playing my role.
"It will all eventually come."
On the offensive side, first-round pick Kevin White didn't play - as expected - but third-round center Hroniss Grasu helped spark the running game with the second and third unit as the Bears finished with 166 yards on the ground.
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Rookie running back Jeremy Langford - the Bears' fourth-round draft pick out of Michigan State - got some playing time in the second quarter, but struggled with only one yard in four rushing attempts. He did have 16 receiving yards on two catches.
"It felt good [to play]," Langford said. "Really, just learning the speed of the game and how everything goes. I felt good really getting my feet wet."
Langford admitted the speed and tempo is up a notch from practice and scrimmage, but he understood what to expect after talking to his teammates before the game.
The Bears' running back depth chart is pretty secure at the top with veterans Matt Forte and Jacquizz Rodgers locking down the first two spots.
Langford is competing against several options - including second-year back Ka'Deem Carey - but the Michigan State product's ability on special teams is a tipping point.
Langford said he relishes the chance to tackle guys while playing special teams, something he did for all four years in college.
"I feel like every day is working for a job," he said. "I'm gonna do my best on special teams. That's where it's gonna start. I'm all for special efforts and I'm giving my best effort out there.
"After that, it's really learning the plays and bringing that blue-collar aspect at running back."