Four downs with Ditka
BY MIKE DITKA September 21, 2013 1:36AM
Mike Ditka | AP photo
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:28AM
1. You picked the Bears to win the Super Bowl, and they are 2-0. But should fans temper the enthusiasm for this team a little?
Why? Why would you temper your enthusiasm? They’ve played two games. They can’t control the schedule. They can’t control anything else but the games they’ve played. I read all these articles by these geniuses in Chicago saying, ‘‘Well, they could be 0-2.’’ Well, they could be 0-2, but they’re not; they’re 2-0. So what does that say about the intestinal fortitude and the character of this football team? I think it says a helluva lot. If you can overcome ways to lose and find ways to win, that’ll make you a successful organization. Are they the best team in football right now? Probably not. Do they have a chance to be the best? They have a chance to be pretty damn good. That’s all I know.
2. What do you see as the Bears’ Achilles’ heel?
The one thing that kills teams is turnovers. The one great thing I’ve seen with Marc [Trestman] that he’s done with the offense is they’re not turning the ball over. Some turnovers, you can’t avoid. Jay Cutler is doing a good job at not turning the football over. You have to be aware of where you are on the field. You can’t make that turnover mistake. It doesn’t have to be beautiful all the time. You may not lead the league in passing, but you’ll be efficient. If they stay away from the turnovers, they’ll be fine.
3. The Bears’ defense has been uncharacteristically porous the first two games. Can you pinpoint the problem?
I don’t think it’s one thing. They lost a great football player in Brian Urlacher, and I think leadership matters. I think they’ll get back to playing good defense. They’re still pretty opportunistic and take the ball away. Maybe the defense hasn’t been what we expected because we’ve been spoiled over the years.
4. Your old teammate and friend Rick Casares passed away recently. Tell us about him.
He was the best. He was my hero. I told people at the funeral that Rick was who we all wanted to be. I was a 21-year-old kid when I met him. He was handsome. He was strong. He was physical. He was a man’s man. And he was a ladies’ man. He was great with the fans. He was humble and treated people the way you’re supposed to be treated. He had a great appreciation for life and the game of football. He taught me how to play poker. Taught me how to go to Las Vegas. Taught me how to go to the racetrack. They used a photo of him in the funeral program where he had that smile on his face. It was a mischievous smile. You couldn’t help but love the guy. He was just a special person.