Da coach and da quarterback

Ditka's words of wisdom are just what Jay Cutler needed -- hopefully

December 3, 2009, 9:26 PM

By: Marc Silverman

It was a surreal Thursday, to say the least.

Coach Ditka had his chef prepare some of the new "Ditka's baby back ribs," and Coach and Waddle were going to town. And as I was about to do my Chris Rock impression -- Can I get just one rib? -- our producer told me, "Jay Cutler just called; he'd like to come on the air."

Although Ditka has been supportive of Cutler in the past several weeks, he questioned his leadership ability during training camp. Cutler was aware of this and was a bit leery to join us after finding out Coach was with us.

Having grown up in Chicago, I always love hearing stories about the great Bears teams of the 1980s. I always wanted to know what an Iron Mike pep talk sounded like. Cuter got one, and a little advice, too. You can hear the interview here.

Pretty cool moment. First time Ditka had ever talked to Cutler. This wasn't planned and was just something that happened. The words of wisdom came from the heart, and I do think Cutler listened.

Criticize Cutler's play all you want. And I do understand how some don't like his body language. I don't believe Cutler sends a bad vibe with it, but I understand how some can be turned off. But please, don't question this guy's will to win. He keeps getting up after taking a beating. Troy Aikman told the story of how Cutler went straight to the film room after his Thursday night five-interception game -- this after his worst game ever and after a four-hour flight. At 6 a.m., everyone went to sleep. Cutler went to try to get better.

Cutler also told us he is constantly reaching out to Mike Shanahan; Jeremy Bates, his Broncos offensive coordinator; and Jimmy Kiser, his quarterbacks coach at Vanderbilt, to pick their brains and get himself back to being a Pro Bowl-caliber QB. This makes me believe Cutler didn't brush off what coach Ditka had to say.

When the interview ended, I wanted to run through a wall for coach Ditka. Coach Ditka? Well, he just wanted to finish his slab of ribs.

"How much for just one rib!?!?!"

Many Bears fans didn't want to accept Cutler from day one. I get the reasons. But that's unacceptable for Brian Urlacher. Cutler believes Urlacher has been a good teammate since the day he walked into Halas Hall. I believe Cutler is taking the high road again, something Urlacher hasn't done lately, and just wants the story to disappear.

Question the team's identity all you want. These Bears are a mess. But how about pointing the finger at the league's biggest underachieving defense for a third straight year? How about letting go of the "Kyle Orton is the world's best winner" when he has never even participated in an NFL playoff game?

And although No. 54 was once a great player, how about Urlacher recognizing what he has done in the past few years? Here's a short list: a petty local media boycott, neck surgery, a contract extension after threatening a holdout, allegedly calling Cutler the P-word, wrist surgery and now this controversy.

Nice teammate. Nothing "winning" about that recent track record.

I go back a long way with Urlacher, and I do like the guy, but it's been a while since he has helped the team with anything.

• I just watched the Blackhawks news conference where they officially announced new deals for Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith. I believe Toews and Kane getting the exact same deal is perfect. I love that both are valued but neither put on a higher pedestal. The two share a great relationship on and off the ice (bizarro Cutler/Urlacher). And it represents a harmonious time for our city's best team. I can't get enough of the Blackhawks. On "Black Wednesday" I bypassed the bars for a La-Z-Boy view of the Hawks' 7-2 thrashing of the San Jose Sharks. Just when you think that can't be topped, you had to love the 11-round shootout on Tuesday.

Andrew Ladd: How do you win a nine-round shootout with a broken skate and then deliver that sorry attempt Tuesday?

• My Dwyane Wade-to-the-Bulls fascination continues. The Heat are just 10-7 and lost 6 of their last 10. Their next two games are at the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets. If the Heat finish at or just a little better than .500, Wade will leave Miami as a free agent.

• SIU advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Football Championship with a convincing 48-7 win over Jurko's EIU team. William and Mary will be the Salukis' next victim. Shout out to our "Waddle and Silvy" listeners in Carbondale at the 710 Bookstore.

• Congrats to Bruce Weber's Illini for their 23-point, come-from-behind win at Clemson. Time to get the Salukis on the schedule. You promised. And time for Chris Lowery to accept a road game in Champaign if that's all you can get. I'd ideally like a game between the two schools in Chicago, but beggars can't be choosers.

• I'm sure David Stern isn't happy that disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy found a publisher for his book. I am. I will read every page of it.

• It was also great to see my former classmates from the class of 1989 of Niles North. This past weekend was my 20th reunion. Aging like a fine wine I tell you! Besides getting called "Marc Goldman" by one of our former cheerleaders, I had a blast! I encourage anyone to attend any reunion in the future. Go to the party with a smile and an open mind, you'll be glad you did.

Thank you to all, and to all a good night.


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