Four downs with Mike Ditka
BY MIKE DITKA January 10, 2014 10:20PM
Updated: February 13, 2014 6:37AM
1. Alshon Jeffery will be playing in his first Pro Bowl this year. How good can he be, and is there any past player he reminds you of?
Well, he’s great. His greatest assets are his size and his hands. He has incredible hands. He catches everything with his hands and doesn’t pull it into his chest.
The Bears are fortunate to have two of the best receivers in football with him and Brandon Marshall.
With his size and great hands, he’s a little like Dwight Clark. That’s the kind of receiver [Clark] was — get position and catch the football. Not so much about running away from people all the time. Get your body between the ball and the defender. That’s what [Jeffery] does very well, and that’s what Dwight did.
2. Were you surprised at how quickly Lovie Smith landed a head-coaching job?
No. Lovie is a good coach. When he was let go, he was 10-6. So what are the expectations? A 10-6 record would have made the playoffs this year. I’m just saying expectations are such that [the Bears] felt the offense wasn’t progressing the way they wanted it. They had a solid defense under Lovie.
Now, since Marc [Trestman] took over, they had three key defensive players get hurt. But they have a good offense now. If they had that same defense that they had two years ago, they would have made the playoffs easily this year. There’s no question about it.
But Lovie is a good coach. It’s a good situation for him in Tampa. He’s been there before as an assistant coach. He has a pretty good nucleus to work with, so it should be a good deal for him.
3. If you had to pick one of the eight teams left going into this weekend to win the Super Bowl, which would it be?
I don’t know anything about anything, but I’ve said from the start that if Seattle gets home field, they’re going to be tough to beat. But in saying that, the one team that could beat them is San Francisco. They play the same kind of football. They try to get in your face and play physical football. That’s why San Francisco could match up with them.
4. Besides the Blackhawks, which Chicago team will win the next championship?
Ooooh. Whether you’re a Bulls fan, Sox fan, Cubs fan or Bears fan, I think you’re pulling for all of them. It’s not easy to win a championship, you know. People take it for granted. The Cubs haven’t won a championship for a long time. And unless they improve the caliber of players, they won’t. The White Sox have been close, and they’re getting better. The Bulls, everything was based on Michael [Jordan] for a long time, but now it’s a different situation. There are so many good basketball teams now. If I had to pick one [long pause], it would be the White Sox.