Bears general manager Ryan Pace spoke to play-by-play announcer Jeff Joniak on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM prior to Saturday night's preseason game against the Broncos in Denver. The following is a transcript of that interview.
On progress team has made during training camp:
"Being in camp really since July 16th, we've had a lot of time kind of secluded away. You include this week in Denver, it's been productive. It's been good. We've got a lot of younger guys getting better as we speak, and we've still got three more preseason games, so it's been a productive time."
On combined team practices with the Broncos:
"It's just good to have reps against different competition, different scheme, different players. It's good for our guys. It breaks up the monotony of camp, so it was a good week."
On what stood out during practices this week:
"You look at different parts of our team and you can kind of feel it clicking and coming together. Like we've talked about before, we've got a lot of new pieces. To get out here against a different team, the juices get going, the competition gets going, it was good, it was really good. I think we were locked into the details, and we got better this week."
On wide receiver Allen Robinson making his debut:
"It's a guy that we're all really proud of. The way he's worked, the way he's attacked his rehab, and you know he's going to come out tonight and show where he's at. So it's been really good. Him and Mitch have good chemistry together, and that's growing every day. So this will be a big step in that process."
On signing rookie linebacker Roquan Smith:
"I just think that sometimes obviously you have some disagreements and it takes some time to sort those things out. Would we have liked him to be here earlier? Yeah, sure. But he's here now, and now we're focused on getting him ready for the season and really all our players."
On Smith's contract:
"With any negotiations there's always a little bit of give and take on both sides. A lot of credit to Joey. I didn't want us to sit idle and have a stare down contest. This was a lot of work back and forth between Todd France and Rich Hurtado and Joey Laine and working that out, and I think both sides are just glad he's here and glad to get to work."
On what Smith brings to the team:
"You see his speed and his athleticism immediately, and I think you saw it in these combined practices with the Broncos. You watch him close the flat, you watch him move, you watch him change direction. But we've got to be smart as a staff as we acclimate him in and that's part of the plan."