Bears general manager Ryan Pace spoke to play-by-play announcer Jeff Joniak on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM prior to Sunday's regular-season opener against the Packers. The following is a transcript of that interview.
On the arrival of the regular season:
"It's about time. It's been a long preseason, but we needed it, and we're excited about tonight."
On defensive tackle Eddie Goldman's recent four-year contract extension:
"Eddie's a young player that's still improving, and you said it, he's the anchor of our defense. We couldn't be more proud of him and just the way he goes about his business. He's a quiet guy that works hard. He's done a great job. We talk about drafting and developing our own players, and Eddie is a prime example of that."
On how Goldman can help team:
"He's still getting better, he's 24. A lot of times you look at these nose tackles around the league and they're just run stuffers. Eddie can rush the passer too, so Eddie can stay on the field for all three downs, and he's a productive player for us."
On linebacker Khalil Mack's first week with the team:
"He's quickly acclimated into our locker room. Now it's just about being smart about how we build him into the game plan, and I know Vic will do it."
On Mack and rookie linebacker Roquan Smith:
"They both had really good weeks of practice, and I think you saw them getting comfortable with each practice as it went by. Those are two talented players, obviously, that will fit right into our defense along with a handful of other players."
On quarterback Mitchell Trubisky heading into the regular season:
"He's looked sharp all week. He's looked sharp throughout the preseason and he's ready to go. We've talked about all these new pieces coming together and gelling together along with the new offense, and we understand that's going to take a little time and that'll be a bit of a process, but he looks good right now."
On team's overall attitude:
"There's a lot of belief in Matt Nagy, for sure. There's a lot of confidence in our building right now, and it's because we have a good locker room. It's a young locker room, but I think these guys all get along really well. There's good chemistry on our team right now, and I think that'll pay dividends."
On Bears 53-man roster:
"I just think it takes time to build the roster the right way, and our depth has definitely improved. The character of our team, the type of guys we've got on our team, just a lot of good teammates that fit all of the traits that we value. Along with the talent, that's what stands out, all that coming together. The right kind of guys along with the physical talent."
On scouting Packers tight end Jimmy Graham:
"We drafted him [when worked with the Saints], and it's just been a pleasure to watch his career and watch him flourish. Red zone target for sure. Just with his height, his catching radius, his hands. He's a threat all over the field. He's a really good route runner for his size. He knows how to get open. He's dangerous after the catch, so he's a big-time weapon for them. I know he's a friendly target for the quarterback, and that'll be a challenge."