4 downs with Ditka: ‘I don’t see a lot of pride’
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1. Have you ever seen Chicago more down about its football team?
The Bears have gone through some tough times. They are not playing well. It’s very simple. The defense is not good. I don’t see a lot of leadership out of certain players. I think they have a problem. Marc [Trestman] knows that as well as anybody. You can blame anyone you want for what’s going on, and usually it’s the coach.
But if you have any talent at all on the defensive side of the ball, you don’t put on an exhibition like you did in the first half against Green Bay. You don’t do that. Now, if you have no pride at all, then maybe that can happen.
I don’t see a lot of leadership; I don’t see a lot of pride in what’s going on. I see a lot of guys going through the motions.
2. For a team that had such promise, where did the season go off the rails?
The only reality in life is what you do. It’s not what you think you will do or what people expect you to do. It’s really what you do. This is totally in the control of the players on the field. If you want to be great, then you earn that right to be great. You want to be respected, then you earn that right. It just doesn’t come easy. To be good at anything in life, it comes with a price. It’s not cheap. You have to bust your butt. You have to be special. You have to be disciplined. You have to know your defenses. You have to have leadership. All of those things fit in. And if you don’t have them, it’s going to show along the way. Oh, you might be by for a while, but you’re not going to make it in the long run.
This thing is not over, but you had better circle the wagons quickly. I’m not sure you can change much, but I know one thing: If I’m the coach and I call a certain defense, I would hope that the players know where the hell to line up. It doesn’t look like they do at times. How hard can it be? If it’s too hard, simplify it.
3. How do you even begin to fix the problems and how long will this take?
I don’t know, but I would make it very simple right now. Here’s the object: That’s the opponent, and I’m the Bears. I’m going to hit him harder than he hits me. I know where I’m lining up every time, and I’m playing full speed. That’s the way you have to play the game on the defensive side.
Offensively, there’s a lot of talent there, but everything has to come together. The fact that they have weapons doesn’t scare anybody. They have to make those weapons work. You have to put points on the board. You have to control the clock at times. You have to keep the other team’s offense off the field. There’s so much that goes into it.
4. Social media wasn’t around when you were coaching. Marc Trestman’s daughters were attacked on Twitter. Was anyone in your family ever yelled at and what do you say to the people who do that?
First of all, the people that do this are gutless. That’s why they do it in social media, so they can hide. They’re cowards; they hide behind things. They don’t come out in public. They’re not going to knock on your door and say, ‘Hey, this is what I think.’ They have to do it by innuendo and through [social] media. These people are all cowards. That’s what social media allows you to do. You don’t have to meet the person face to face. All you have to do is say what you want to say. You can hurt a person’s reputation. That’s why I say it’s a cowardly thing.
In my time, did I see it? No. Now, we had writers who weren’t favorable toward me or the team at times, but they had a right to say anything they wanted to. But that was different. This is malicious. These people ought to be rounded up and kicked right in their ass.