"Yes, this week would be really wonderful," Ditka said, sarcastically.
"One thing is certain," Fencik said. "The dogs will never be called off."
Someone asked Fencik if he really wanted a blowout, considering his closeness with Ryan.
"Oh, hell, yes," he said. "That's the whole point. It's putting something to rest that has to be put to rest, not only for Mike Ditka but for every player on the team. We're a better team now than last year and we want to prove it. We want to lay this to rest once and for all.
"What we had with Buddy—well, that was unique, but it's over. Those meetings of ours, there was never anything like them, guys lying around all over the room, the whole place filled with the smell of Buddy's Captain Black pipe tobacco, Dan Hampton sprawled out in the back, dozing off, and Buddy yelling to him, 'Big Rook, you got that front?' and Danny's eyes popping open...'Yeah, Buddy, I got it.' The laughter that used to come out of that room. The offensive meeting was next door, and afterward those guys used to say, 'What are you guys laughing about all the time?'
" Vince Tobin's the defensive coordinator now. He's a good coach, but things are different. We saw that in our first meeting. Otis Wilson put his feet up on a chair and was told to take them down."
The week preceding the Bears-Eagles game took some strange turns. In Philadelphia, Ryan slowed his motor mouth down—at least when he was talking about the Bears, low-keying the confrontation, reminding people that his young Eagles still had to face Denver and the Los Angeles Rams in the next two games.
"I'm not saying we don't want to win the damn game," he said, "but it's kind of ridiculous. Here we are a 7 and 9 team, and they're treating this game like a Super Bowl. As far the stuff between Mike and me, that's history, maybe not for him but it is for me."
The quotes coming out of the Philly locker room were sensible, basically muted. Then on Thursday, a free-agent fullback from San Diego State named Mike Waters, who had averaged 1.3 yards in three carries against the Redskins, let fly in a rare burst of rookie madness. The Bears were "pansies." Singletary was "a big baby" because of the way he yelled at his own players. As for Waters himself, "I'm sure I'll be one of the guys knocking them on their butts."
"What can you say? He's from California. He's different," said Philly quarterback Ron Jaworski. "The problem is that I'm the guy who's gonna wind up paying for all that."