Four downs with Mike Ditka
BY MIKE DITKA December 20, 2013 11:36PM
Chicago Bears v New York Gaints
Updated: January 23, 2014 6:23AM
1. How much do the Bears miss Lance Briggs on defense?
I think they miss all the guys that are hurt on defense. They have three or four key injuries, but Briggs is the most important one. [Charles] Tillman is another key injury. Their defense is really out of sync in the secondary. When you’re talking about Briggs, you are talking about the No. 1 linebacker on your football team. That’s a big loss.
2. But what about your preseason prediction that the Bears would win the Super Bowl?
Well, I’m a Bears fan. I’m not going to change that. I’m not going to use rationale all of a sudden to say this and that. I think they have played as well on the offensive side of the ball as any team I’ve seen. Defensively, if they can get a little better, I think they have a great chance.
3. There’s a chance the Eagles game won’t have playoff implications for the Bears, and the Bears will know this after the Packers and Lions’ games Sunday afternoon. As a coach, would you rest players, knowing the only way you make the playoffs is by beating the Packers next Sunday?
I wouldn’t. I think you have a responsibility to go out and play the game to the best of your responsibility with your people. I understand if you have something clinched, then you might sit some people. If the Bears win the two games, they’re in. There’s no other way to look at it.
I believe in sitting guys if they have an injury or they’re banged up or you have clinched. You pay the guys — let them play.
You know, you play the game of football, and there is risk in everything. You have played the game all year long this way, and now we’re going to play it a different way because we’re afraid someone is going to get hurt. I don’t think you can do that. That’s pretty negative thinking on anybody’s part.
I just think you go out and you send the message that you’re the best team in the NFC North by winning the next two games. And then it doesn’t matter.
4. With two games to go, which team do you see emerging as the hot team in the playoffs?
Seattle has the best team in football right now, especially if they play at home. They have a great defense, good special teams and a very good offense. So when you’re talking about the most well-rounded team in football, it’s the Seahawks. If they get home-field advantage, they’re going to be pretty tough to stop from going to the Super Bowl. Denver, Kansas City, New England are all good football teams. The New Orleans-Carolina game this week should tell us a lot. I’m not a big Cincinnati fan. Baltimore has come on, and Miami has really come on. Pittsburgh is another one — they’re not out of the equation. I think the NFL couldn’t be happier as to how this thing is coming down to the end. You have a lot of teams that have a chance to get in.