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Pace discusses defense, scouts Buccaneers


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 game against the Buccaneers. The following is a transcript of that interview.

On 2-1 start:
"I feel good, it's encouraging. This start's been good, but we've got a lot of work to do still. Still early in the season. What's been good is a young team learning to win these close games. I think that's important. That's the NFL, that's the nature of the NFL now, so we've got to keep up that mindset."

On offense and defense:
"I think when you look at it, the team bigger picture, obviously we have continuity on defense, and I think you feel that with our defense. Conversely with our offense, there's a lot of new pieces, there's new coaches, there's a new scheme, there's a lot of new pieces from a personnel standpoint, a young quarterback. But I think offensively we've responded well to adversity in the second half these last two games and, hey, [Mitchell Trubisky] is a young quarterback in a new offense, and I think you've heard him say this and coach [Matt] Nagy say this, it's about growth, and that process is taking place. We just need to build on the positives."

On Trubisky being tough on himself:
"Mitch is football 24/7. He's very passionate about this game, and I think any quarterback in the league, you're going to have adversity, anybody in the NFL is going to have adversity, but it's about how you respond to it. I think it's a really good sign when you see the last two games and how he's responded in the second half."

On Trubisky's offensive performance:
"I think any time a new offense is gelling together with a lot of new pieces, that timing and that chemistry, that is a process, and I think just more repetition just helps that process."

On defense:
"The continuity on defense has been important for us, and we have a lot of players that are very comfortable and very knowledgeable in that scheme. Hey, we're going to have a huge test today against the No. 1 passing offense in the league."

On defensive personnel stepping up:
"[Cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan] have been playing really well this year, and we like our depth. You look at [Kevin Toliver II], Sherrick McManis played really well last weekend, and our safeties are good in coverage. There's no question we have a huge challenge today against this passing offense. They've got a ton of weapons. A guy like Kevin Toliver, we liked him coming out through the draft process. He's played in a lot of big games, and he's talented, so it'll be a good test today."

On linebacker Khalil Mack:
"Obviously he's playing at a high level and I think to be honest with you, the physical part we expected this out of him, he's that type of player. But what's been outstanding is the things behind the scenes: the type of teammate he is, the way he practices, his commitment to the game, his unselfish style, his work ethic, all those things have been outstanding."

On Buccaneers offense:
"There's no question these guys are high-powered. A lot of talent at the offensive skill positions, and really in their passing game it's all three levels. It's short, intermediate, deep. And you look at the receivers they have and they've accumulated. They've done a good job, [wide receivers Mike] Evans, [DeSean] Jackson, [Chris] Godwin, [Adam] Humphries. The two tight ends are good weapons. Then they've got a quarterback that's playing with a lot of experience. He's playing very confident right now, and that's why they're the No. 1 offense in the NFL."

Scouting Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin:
"Vic [Fangio's] right, the more you watch tape on these guys, he stands out. He's got a really good size-speed combination. He's an ascending player. You can feel him in their offense. He's a strong player with specifically strong hands, so he wins these contested battles. Just another piece in a very explosive offense."