4 Downs with Mike Ditka: Ferguson, Forte and is Briggs a HOFer?
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Before Sunday’s game, five St. Louis Rams players took the field in a “hands up, don’t shoot” solidarity protest for Ferguson and Michael Brown.
Neither the NFL nor the Rams penalized the players for their actions. When asked if they should have, Mike Ditka said:
“It’s a shame this thing has come to this,” Ditka told the Chicago Sun-Times for his weekly feature column. “The shame of it is, I’m not sure they care about Michael Brown or anything else. This was a reason to protest and to go out and loot. Is this the way to celebrate the memory of Michael Brown? Is this an excuse to be lawless? Somebody has to tell me that. I don’t understand it. I understand what the Rams’ take on this was. I’m embarrassed for the players more than anything. They want to take a political stand on this? Well, there are a lot of other things that have happened in our society that people have not stood up and disagreed about.
“I wasn’t in Ferguson. I don’t know exactly what happened. But I know one thing: If we dismantle and limit the power of our policemen any more than we have already, then we’re going to have a lot of problems in this country.
“What do you do if someone pulls a gun on you or is robbing a store and you stop them? I don’t want to hear about this hands-up crap. That’s not what happened. I don’t know exactly what did happen, but I know that’s not what happened. This policeman’s life is ruined. Why? Because we have to break somebody down. Because we have to even out the game. I don’t know. I don’t get it. Maybe I’m just old fashioned.”
2. With the season pretty much lost, what should the Bears’ coaching staff be looking for in the last four games?
The guys that are going out there and busting their butts. Find some guys that still think football is important. That winning is important. That the Bears are important. That this is something special, playing for the Chicago Bears. Find those kind of guys. Find which guys are going to play this out all the way to the end, and not be looking for the first bus out of town. That’s what they ought to be looking for.
3. Obviously, the Bears’ game plan was to throw against the Lions, but can you expect to win any game rushing the ball only eight times, with only five of those handoffs going to Matt Forte?
I don’t think so. There are a lot of ways to throw the ball. You can throw it dropping back or you can throw it off of play-action. To be able to do it off of play-action, you have to be able to establish a running game. If you have no running game, play-action doesn’t work. The only way you’re going to find out if you have a running game is to work on it. The hardest thing to do for offensive linemen is to pass-protect. The easiest thing to do is to drive forward and try to block people. I don’t care if they have Man Mountain Dean out there, anybody can be blocked, Ndamukong Suh or anybody else. I would want to initiate some toughness in that offensive line and say, ‘‘This is it. You have to knock them off the ball.’’
I can’t relate to that because I had guys that wanted to run the ball, wanted to stick their noses in there. If these guys don’t want to do that, then shame on them. I don’t see a lot of guys there that want to go out and play their butts off for the Bears.
4. Where do you put Lance Briggs among Bears linebackers? Is he a Hall of Famer?
Well, I don’t get into that stuff. He was a good football player. He’s been a heck of a football player, but I don’t know about the Hall of Fame. I don’t know if that’s what this is all about. You play football because you love it. You don’t play football because you want to get into the Hall of Fame.
If you get into the Hall of Fame, then that’s a bonus. But you play for the love of the game, and I’m sure he did that.
There are a couple of good Bears over the years that aren’t in — Doug Buffone and others. Wilber Marshall was pretty special. He’s not in the Hall of Fame. Otis Wilson was pretty special. He’s not in the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying he belongs or doesn’t belong, but I just think we have to keep things in perspective.