Hall of Fame Coach Mike Ditka joins Doc and Galdi to shed some light on one of his former players and new Washington Redskins Head Coach, Ron Rivera.
Q: What do you like most about Ron Rivera?
A: “His character.” Ditka simply stated. “What he says he does. He’s an outstading and upright guy. He’s a great example for young people and young coaches. He was that way as a player for me and he’s been that way as a coach. Great great guy.”
Q: When you had Ron as a player, did he strike you as a future head coach.
A: “Well I don’t think you ever think about that. But he was a student of the game, and he learned the game the right way. He had Buddy Ryan at that time and he learned all the good things that you’re supposed to take out of the 4-6 defense. He’s and outstanding guy and his character! I can’t say it another way. He’s just a class guy.”
Q: What are the keys to establishing the right culture? What are the keys to turning around a franchise?
A: “First of all, you’ve got to have players. Let’s face it. You can’t run the Kentucky derby with a mule. When I got to Chicago, I saw what we had and said it just wasn’t enough. After the first year, we had to go out and get some people and we did. But the one thing I got, I got guys that were leaders. I got Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary and Gary Fencik and and guys like that. A great defensive coach in Buddy Ryan. He did things that nobody understood in those days and so we had a big edge on people. People don’t realize though that that offense with McMahon and Payton led the league in touchdowns and time of possession, in rushing so we were a good football team and we were a balanced football team and I think that’s where you have to be. You have to be a balanced football team.”
Q: What are you memories with battling Gibbs and the Skins back in the 80s?
A: Joe is a great coach, a great friend, and a great guy. They were good. I really enjoyed the rivalry with Joe because he’s a first class individual.