They crammed and studied all summer long for this.
Now Green Bay Packer defensive rookies. Or NFL Freshman if you will, are starting to produce winning grades.
"We talk about winning and growing," said Head Coach Mike McCarthy Tuesday. "Just based on the fact that our younger players are playing in week two gives us that opportunity. I'm excited about where this team has the chance to go."
After last years struggles on defense, the Packers were counting on their new blood on that side of the ball to make an impact early in the season.
They did just that in a 23-10 win over the Bears last Thursday.
Rookie defensive lineman Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels both recorded their first NFL sacks, safety Jerron McMillian got his first interception and dropped another sure pick, Casey Hayward served as Green Bay's dime corner, and Nick Perry and Dezman Moses provided pressure off the edges for a team that produced seven sacks of Jay Cutler.
"It was good in camp," said veteran defensive lineman Ryan Pickett about the first year players' performance and energy. "It's carrying over, and they are getting better in the games. That is going to continue to help us. The more young guys we can get playing at a high level the better it's going to be as the season goes on. I am excited about the young fellas doing great."
Players and coaches will tell you not every week will be like the Chicago game. There will be ups and downs with young players. This week it's another big test for the first year guys as they go on the road to Seattle for their first regular season road game.
"It's a learning experience obviously," says undrafted rookie Dezman Moses who has worked himself into the rotation at OLB. "We need to grow as the season goes on. We will get a chance to do that, but we are confident in our abilities whenever we are out there to do our job and try to make plays."
"We're just trying to get into a groove," says second round pick Jerel Worthy who started for an injured C.J. Wilson in week two. "Get on the same page as the veterans around the locker room and just trying to build. We are always a step behind a little bit as far as the knowledge, as far as the speed of the game a little bit. As long as we continue to work hard and give good effort out on the field we will continue to make some plays."
With all the improvement the defense showed with only four days to prepare for the Bears it will be interesting to see what that unit can do with an extended amount of time to do their homework for the Seahawks.
So far these freshmen seem like "A" students.