Mike Ditka | AP photo
Updated: January 17, 2013 6:28AM
There has been a lot of trash talk this week between the Bears and the Packers leading into their game Sunday. Is that productive, or is it a distraction?
It’s very unproductive. It benefits nobody. I think what Jermichael Finley said about Brian Urlacher was out of line. If I’m Urlacher, I would have ignored him. I wouldn’t have answered back. That’s the best way to treat that. Best way for you to settle things is on the field. Some people just don’t think half the time, and they just say something. I don’t blame Urlacher for firing back, but I would have just totally ignored it. Just consider the source, and the source has no credibility. You can have all the bulletin-board material you want, but you still have to play the game. You win, and you say, ‘‘That inspired us.’’ You get your butt kicked and say, ‘‘It doesn’t matter.’’
Commissioner Roger Goodell has tossed around the idea of eliminating kickoffs in the NFL. Is that good for the game?
That’s absolutely insane. You have one of the greatest games in all sports, why would you change it? You would have to show me proof that there are more injuries on kickoffs and punt returns than there are in other parts of the game. I doubt they can prove that. I think it’s silly. If you think about the game of football, how many guys made their careers by starting out as a return man or kick man? It’s absolute insanity — a bad, bad idea.
If the Bears don’t make the playoffs, should coach Lovie Smith accept the blame?
No, he doesn’t play. He can’t control injuries. He has some of his best football players hurt. When they’re hurt, there’s nothing you can do about it. You have backups, but that’s what they are — backups. They are not going to play as well as your starters. You can get by if it’s one or two guys, but when you start talking about five or six guys hurt — your offensive line, your middle linebacker who is the leader of your football team, one of your best secondary people gets hurt, then all of a sudden your kicker gets hurt — the coach has no control over that.
What does Jay Cutler have to do to reach Aaron Rodgers’ level?
First of all, he needs a hell of a lot better team around him, especially the offensive line. Right now, Aaron Rodgers, his decision-making and the way he handles himself on and off the field is as good as anybody in football.