TAMPA, Fla. -- Darnell Wright knows he has what it takes to thrive in the NFL. The Bears first-round rookie right tackle has faced two tough tests right out of the gate in Green Bay Packers edge rusher Rashan Gary and Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Shaq Barrett.
In two games, Wright has allowed seven pressures and one sack in 89 pass-block snaps, per Pro Football Focus.
Offensive line coach Chris Morgan said Wright's debut was full of teaching tape. Wright feels like he is improving, but there's a lot he has to work on, with the bulk of it coming between the ears.
"I’ve gotten better over the last two games, for sure," Wright told NBC Sports Chicago after the Bears' 27-17 loss to the Bucs in Tampa. "But there are still some things I need to clean up. Rookie mistake stuff. Not rookie -- there’s no excuse. Just some stuff that I – I know what to do, but just the speed of the game or whatever it may be. Just try to execute those better when they come.
“Just adapting. Trusting myself and being confident, playing the play and not second guessing things. Just doing the things that I do in practice and when it gets to a game, don’t go against my training and what not.”
Wright only played seven snaps in the preseason. He sat out the second preseason game with the rest of the Bears' starters and missed the finale due to an ankle injury. He thinks more preseason playing time would have helped him adjust to the speed of the NFL game quicker.
Facing Gary and Barrett right out of the chute gave Wright a good measuring stick for where he's at and the confidence that he can hang with the NFL's best. But mental lapses cost Wright on critical reps against both Gary and Barrett.
"I feel like I did some good things but there’s also things where I’m shooting myself in the foot," Wright said. "I could have had very good games in the first game and a better game today if I had just stuck to my training and done the things I know I can do. That will be some of the things I can clean up. Doing that better, having more confidence. I can do that.”
The self-inflicted wounds for Wright happen pre-snap. He knows that at this level, being half-second slow is a death sentence against guys like Barrett.
"Like when I’m set, I’m not getting off on the snap count," Wright told NBC Sports Chicago of his issues. "Forgetting the snap count at the line and stuff. Going against somebody like Shaq Barrett and if I don’t know the snap count or I forget the snap count or the cadence, I’m already behind the eight ball.”
Wright had a rocky debut but was much better Sunday against the Bucs. The Bears are confident he'll continue to get better as he stacks more reps. For Wright, it will boil down to trust in his technique and eliminating those rookie mistakes that have cost him early on.
Here's the snap count from the Bears' loss to the Bucs:
Quarterback: Justin Fields 53
Special teams: Sewell 24, Ja. Jones 24, Dylan Cole 24, V. Jones 17, Travis Homer 17, Blasingame 17, Q. Johnson 15, Tonyan 13, Hicks 12, Sanborn 12, Robinson 10, Smith 10, Stevenson 10, R. Johnson 8, Trenton Gill 8, Patrick Scales 8, Cairo Santos 7, Stroman 7, Dexter 7, Green 6, Ju. Jones 5, Scott 4, Taylor 4, Brisker 3, Feeney 3, Larry Borom 3, Kmet 3, Patrick 3, Whitehair 3, Br. Jones 3, Wright 3, Edwards 2, Pickens 1, Billings 1