Four downs with Ditka
BY MIKE DITKA August 10, 2013 1:36AM
Updated: September 12, 2013 6:28AM
1. What’s the most important thing first-year coach Marc Trestman wants to see in his preseason games?
He’s going to want to see continuity in his team. Do they get in and out of the huddle? How do they play together? Are they in sync? Do they not take careless penalties? Basically, as a coach, you want to see them be proficient — that all the things you are working on in the camp have carried over into the game. You know, Marc’s been around the block. He’s been an assistant in the NFL and a head coach in the CFL, so I think he knows what to expect.
2. What’s with all the key injuries around the NFL in training camps before any games were even played?
I feel if you play football long enough, injuries are going to happen. It does seem, though, that there have been a lot of medial collateral tears in knees. Conditioning and strength training are an important part of the game, but I think you can overdo it. It’s only my opinion, but I think when you bulk up the thigh muscles and you bulk up the calf muscles, maybe the tendons and ligaments can’t support it. You know, when I was with Coach [Tom] Landry in Dallas, we stressed conditioning, but we spent a lot of time on stretching those joints, not just building strength. Maybe the most fit athlete I have ever seen was Walter Payton. He spent as much time as anyone running steps, working on cutting, balance and stretching, not just bulking up.
3. If you have the first pick of a fantasy draft, whom do you take?
Aaron Rodgers. I really feel he’s the best player in the NFL. Now, I don’t want to slight Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, but he’d be my pick. I don’t really follow fantasy much, but here are some teams I’d watch for. Even though Baltimore lost several guys, I think you’ll see some guys mature and step up. Denver will be good. Look at New England. They still have the two guys — Belichick and Brady. Kansas City will be improved. And keep an eye on the Bears.
4. Tell us about your new venture with the Ditka Sausage. And is your doctor OK with making it part of your daily diet?
Well, Vienna Beef came to me and wanted to do it. It just made sense. They’re really tasty. They have a chicken and a hot Polish. They’re good for you. My doctor? [laughing] I don’t talk to him anymore.