Seventh-round draft pick Greg McCoy has been slowly transitioning to the NFL game. As one of the third-team cornerbacks for the Chicago Bears, McCoy is battling for a roster spot.
Defense might not be his best route though, as he has struggled at times with the speed and complexity of coverages in the pro game. But as a kick returner, McCoy looks like a natural. He has shown good field vision and quickness as a return man. In Saturday’s preseason matchup against the Washington Redskins, McCoy returned two kickoffs for 45 yards.
The Bears have plenty of competition at the return position, making the next few weeks vital for McCoy if he’s going to break camp on the 53-man roster. Bear Report correspondent Beth Gorr caught up with McCoy after the team’s second preseason contest.
“It was a pretty good night out there. My main job at this point is to try to stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re a rookie and there’s so much going on around you.
CB Greg McCoy
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“I am finding that every time I am at Soldier Field it gets a little more comfortable. I know the layout here now. I can find the locker room. I know how the field feels. You'd be surprised just how important little details like that are when you are new to the NFL. The more comfortable you can be in your surroundings, the sooner you can concentrate on playing the game.
“I was satisfied with my production tonight. Of course any player will tell you they want more time on the field. I’m no exception to that. I need and want to show the coaches what I can do. But all and all I think I am making steady progress, so that’s all good.
“One thing I felt more comfortable with was seeing how the bench area works from what was going on during the last game to tonight’s game. I understand now how players come in and out, who is working with the coaches, really what player fills which role. It’s not the kind of thing you’d think you’d have to learn coming in, but you do.
“It was great to win tonight. Even in a preseason game, you always want to come out on top. There is such satisfaction to that. It’s hard to describe to somebody who doesn’t play the game but I guess I can explain that we are all very competitive. You would never make it into the pros if that wasn’t the case, so anytime the score shows your team ahead at the end, its a very good thing.
“Camp ended a few days ago. It was a memorable experience, that’s for sure. I definitely had my rookie moments, carrying equipment off the field, singing in the dining hall, that kind of stuff, but it’s nothing you don’t expect coming in as a new guy. I’m more than happy to pay my dues.
“Now I am looking forward to settling in at Halas Hall for the long run. I don’t think it will have an immediate effect, being in the place we’ll be practicing all year. I only say that because we rookies are so busy all of the time we hardly know where we are. A locker room is a locker room and you don’t necessarily notice your immediate surroundings.
“One thing I will look forward to is moving up from the basement at Halas Hall. Rookies get the underground locker area until they make the team and the regular season starts. I’ve heard that upstairs is really nice but I won’t know that for sure for a while.
“I have one job ahead of me right now: to make sure I get better every day. At this level you can’t stay constant; you need to improve. I want to become a smarter football player and pay more attention to detail. There’s no room for any kind of error here. Everything has to be perfect all of the time.
“We have our first road trip coming up next week. I’m looking forward to it but don’t know what to expect exactly. In college when you travel, you are tightly shut down. You need to either be in your room or in the meetings. I’ve heard that at this level you get a little more freedom, but as I said, I don’t know that for sure. I’m definitely looking forward to experiencing a new stadium, a new team across the line. As far as I’m concerned right now, its all good.”
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.