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Ditka defends beleaguered Bears coach Trestman

By Mike Ditka

Sports Columnist

There has been a lot of talk that Marc Trestman has lost the team, so much so that owner George McCaskey addressed it, saying Trestman is in full control. Do you think the very fact that the owner acknowledged it means Trestman has indeed lost his team?

No. That’s a lot of bull—-! Players play, coaches coach. They’re not playing very good right now. Take a look at their defense. It’s really not hard to figure this out, guys. You can blame anyone you want. You can blame me if you want. But the defense is not playing well. They’re forcing the offense to do too much. So, I think all this talk is a lot of bull—-! You can run all those words, too.

What are your thoughts on the Cubs getting Joe Maddon, a fellow Pennsylvanian?

Joe Maddon is a great guy. He’ll be a great manager. But the last time I checked, I don’t know what he’s batting or how he’s pitching. You have to understand, they have to go out and get him some good players. You could bring in the greatest manager in the world. Who is he? Joe Maddon, may be as good a manager as there is. You can’t win with guys who can’t pitch. And, you can’t have guys on base and nobody to bring them in. Listen, if they get the right players, they’re going to have a pretty darn good team. And, if they build the right team, who knows, they might get a World Series here some day.

What about Maddon offering to buy shots and beers at the Cubby Bear? Is that a Pennsylvania tradition?

My dad used to drink a shot and a beer all the time. I gave it up a long time ago. That’s a tradition there. If you go into a beer garden or a tavern in Pennsylvania, you have a shot and a beer. That’s the way it is. That’s the way the old working guys celebrated. When the work was over, they went and got a shot and a beer, and then they went home.

Are you a fan of the Thursday night games? Do you think because of the lack of rest and preparation, the NFL is putting out a bad product on Thursdays?

I don’t think the players mind it at all. I don’t think it’s a bad product or too short of rest. You have to understand why [the NFL does] it — to make money. You’re going to have games on Saturdays when the college season is over. You’re going to have them on Tuesday afternoon if you want to. Any chance they have to make money, they’re going to do it. They have to make money because they’re paying out a lot of money in salaries. So, it’s pretty logical. I never had a problem with Thursday nights. You’d have to talk to the players, but I know a lot of guys liked it because after you played, it gave you three more nights of rest.

Do you believe Trestman is in danger of losing his job if he doesn’t get this turned around in the second half?

This is not too complicated. Listen to me. I watched a football team the other night that’s had four coaches in five years. Is that what you want? If you’re an owner, you want stability. You want a guy in there that knows the game. And if you get the people, and put them in the right places, then you have a chance to win. There’s no magic wand you wave as a coach. There are no more Lombardis or Landrys. Believe me, you have to have players to win. And, even those guys had players to win. Maybe they motivated them differently, but they still had to have good players. Players play, coaches coach. Don’t ever get it mixed up.

Right now, if you start pointing the finger at the coaches and not the players, then you have a problem. The players are the only ones out there between the sidelines, making things happen. And they’re getting paid to do it. If they don’t make the right things happen, then take a look in the mirror.