1985 Bears Coverage: Perry laughs off Ryan’s rap

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Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Perry laughs off Ryan’s rap

Kevin Lamb

Originally published Nov. 6, 1985

QUESTION: When is Buddy Ryan going to apologize to William Perry about his pre-season comments?

ANSWER: Perry doesn’t feel he’s owed an apology. Ryan called Perry a wasted draft choice during Perry’s first week of training camp, but Perry said Monday it was the defensive coordinator’s right to say that.

“I came in late,” Perry said. “I didn’t know the defense. He said it to get me motivated. But that’s all in the past. I’m playing now and having a good time.

“Buddy’s a great guy. I can’t say too much about how he is. He criticizes you, but he compliments you when you do things right. He told me in a meeting today, `Great tackle. Great tackle.’ ”

Q: If the Bears beat Detroit Sunday, will they clinch their division?

A: No, but they would come close. All they would need is a victory the next week at Dallas and a Minnesota defeat, either at home Sunday against Green Bay or at Detroit the next week.

The last time an NFC Central team clinched the division championship with five games left was 1973, when Minnesota did it in a 14-game season.

Q: Which team on the Bears’ schedule is most likely to beat them?

A: The Jets, followed closely by the Cowboys. Both teams have good running games and defenses. Miami, the most obvious other choice, has neither.

They don’t necessarily have to lose to anybody. Dan Hampton thought the Bears cleared their most dangerous hurdle Sunday at Green Bay. “Against Miami and Dallas, I think the emotion from playing a winning team will carry us, but the Packers were 3-5. I don’t think we were as prepared as we should have been.”

Q: Why did the Bears run Matt Suhey instead of Walter Payton on third-and-two late in the game?

A: “That’s a good question,” coach Mike Ditka said. “We ran a play we had a lot of success with, and I thought maybe a change in the ball carrier might throw them off. But the formation gave it away.”

The Packers held and got one last chance to score. “If I had it to do over again, I know what I’d do,” Ditka said.

Q: Shouldn’t the Bears call shorter drops for Jim McMahon?

A: Probably. That would help them pass more quickly against blitzes. They’ve used more short drops this year, but they still have their quarterback go back seven steps to pass more often than most teams.

One concern about short drops is that they don’t give receivers time to get deep. That’s not true if the quarterback bounces on his feet two or three times at the end of his five-step drop. He buys time

and still is a moving target. The Giants are one of the latest converts to that technique.

But McMahon is shorter than most quarterbacks. He’s more apt to be bothered by a defensive tackle’s hands in his face. The deeper drop makes him more vulnerable to outside rush men, but it gets him away from the inside rush, which gave him trouble at Green Bay.

Q: What did Ditka and Ryan argue about on the sideline?

A: Ryan couldn’t remember an argument Sunday – not that it never happens. Ditka admits he can get too worked up during games. His assistants have learned when to ignore his outbursts.

On the TV spot you saw, perhaps Ditka was shouting to be heard because Ryan wore a headset and the crowd was noisy. Or perhaps Ryan just didn’t hear him. “I got awfully excited there for a while,” Ditka said. “I’m glad I wasn’t miked.”

Q: Why do Ditka and Ryan have such different opinions on Perry?

A: They don’t, really. Ditka sees Perry as a half-full glass, Ryan as a half-empty one. Ditka motivates with the carrot, Ryan with the stick. Both say Perry has a lot of promise and needs to improve.

Q: Is Perry the hottest sports item in the country today?

A: He’s the hottest item, period. He may just knock the summit talks off the front page if he throws a touchdown pass.

Q: Does Matt Suhey feel his position is in danger?

A: Only inside the five-yard line. Suhey has the other 95 yards under control.

Q: Were the players upset about Mike Hartenstine’s demotion?

A: It’s naturally unsettling when a popular, hard-working, 11th-year player is shoved aside. Shakeups are unsettling in any business. In football, they remind players how short and tenuous their careers are.

But demotions don’t stir up revolts, especially on a 9-0 team. As Hampton said, “We’re just pawns in this little game and we do what we’re told. We line up where they tell us to.”

Hartenstine played 18 downs at Green Bay.

Q: Why didn’t the Bears reactivate tight end Pat Dunsmore?

A: Consider it a vote of confidence for rookie wide receiver James Maness. Ditka could have put Maness on injured reserve when he pulled his groin muscle last week, but he said Maness had recently shown flashes of promise in practice.

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