Four downs with Ditka
BY MIKE DITKA August 3, 2013 1:16AM
Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) blocks Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Mario Henderson, right,during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: CXB109
Updated: September 5, 2013 6:37AM
1. Julius Peppers came to the Bears at 30, and people questioned whether he could continue to perform at an All-Pro level. How would you assess Peppers’ play over the last three years, and how much longer can he continue to contribute?
What athletes like Julius are doing is they are keeping themselves in really good shape today. Injuries can happen to anybody. But the better you keep yourself in shape in the offseason — you’re not getting into bad habits, out carousing around doing all the stupid things — the better off you are. Julius is the kind of guy who has his head screwed on right, and he’s committed to his career. His career can last three or four more years. If he doesn’t get a key injury, he can play for that long easily.
2. Marc Trestman has been experimenting with a read-option play for Jay Cutler. Good idea or bad idea?
Anything you can do to improve the offense and put pressure on the defense is a good thing. The offense’s responsibility is to keep the defense off-balance, so the defense can’t key in and doesn’t know where the offense is coming from. I think what Marc’s doing is great. Will they use it a lot? I don’t know. It depends if it fits in with what they’re doing and how Jay feels with it. I like it. The more weapons you have, the more things you can throw at a defense if you can execute them, the better off you are.
3. Brandon Marshall said he plans on playing at a heavier weight this season — 235 pounds, five pounds heavier than normal. Do you think that’s too heavy for your go-to receiver?
It depends on how he carries the weight. It’s hard to say if five pounds is going to change anything. He’s not getting any younger. Usually when guys get older, they like to take off a few pounds. But Brandon Marshall is bigger than all the tight ends when I played. At 6-3, 235 pounds, that’s a big guy! So I don’t think five pounds is going to hurt him one way or the other.
4. Riley Cooper’s racial slur caused quite a stir around the NFL. As a coach, how did you deal with racial tension among players?
I don’t think racial tension was a problem when I coached at all, I really don’t. It’s a different world today, it really is. With all this crazy media, anything you say or do or where you’re at can be found out. People have to realize the kid was intoxicated. Sometimes, when you’re intoxicated, your brain doesn’t work. His brain wasn’t working, but his mouth was working, and he got into trouble. Does it make him the worst guy in the world? No, probably doesn’t. But he’s going to have to find a way to heal the wounds. There are a lot of wounds out there right now.