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Pace talks Bears-49ers on radio pregame show


General manager Ryan Pace spoke with Jeff Joniak Sunday on the Bears pregame radio show on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM. The following is a transcript of Pace's comments:

On Matt Nagy not being able to coach today due to COVID protocols:

"Matt's going crazy. You know he wants to me out there. As you know, we've been in these intensive protocols this week, and it's just all a part of us working with the league, ensuring we're doing everything right to protect our players and staff. Several teams have been in similar situations and navigated through with success, and we're kind of following that roadmap. Looking back on this week, I'm really proud of our players and coaches on how they've handled all the adversity we've been dealt."

On expectations with special teams coordinator Chris Tabor assuming head-coaching duties:

"He's done a great job. As the special teams coordinator, he's the one coach who addresses the bulk of the team, and that's important. He's in his fourth season with us. He's got a great feel for our weekly operation and preparation. He's been in constant communication with Matt. They've got a really close, tight relationship, and I think because of that things have gone very smoothly this week."

More on Nagy:

"You know how Matt is, he's naturally extremely positive, a solution-based person. We've had some obvious challenges, and I think it's just recognizing each one and taking them on on a case-by-case basis. Obviously, it's killing him, it hurts him that he can't be here with us. But I think he's done a great job adapting and controlling what he can control. That's one of his many strengths and I think it's boding well this week."

On Khalil Mack not playing Sunday due to a foot injury:

"It's something that's been bothering him. He's been battling through it. We wanted to give it some rest and see how he responds. It's truly a day-by-day approach. Khalil's someone that's tough, durable, his body's a fast healer. He obviously wants to be out there. As a club, sometimes we have to protect him from himself, and that's what we're doing. Just a little rest and hopefully we get a positive response."

On the return of Robert Quinn, who missed last Sunday's game while on the COVID-19 list:

"He's playing at a really high level. He's really locked in. One of the things that I've noticed about Robert from Day 1 is he's naturally conditioned. There are certain guys, you miss a couple days of football, your conditioning drops off pretty significant. That doesn't happen with Robert. He's always in great shape. I think part of that is just natural for him, and he looks ready to go and we're glad to have him back."

On the Bears offense:

"We've moved the ball. Our run game has been good. But we know we have to play with more consistency. We've got to finish drives, and the No. 1 thing is we can't turn the ball over. That killed us last week and we can't have that."

On whether he shares Justin Fields' optimism that a breakthrough on offense is imminent:

"I do, and based on just how they're working, all the time they put in, you see it every day—the commitment—the players, the coaches. I think you currently see it with our run game. That's been going well. It's coming with our pass game. We all feel it coming."

On rookie tackle Larry Borom, who returns to action for the first time since hurting his ankle in the season opener:

"He's worked really hard. Our trainers and strength coaches have done a great job, and one of the things he's done a really good job of is keeping his weight down as he's gone through the rehab process. We activated him yesterday, and that was based on him looking good all this week in practice, and we feel he's ready to go."

On what he would say to critics of the offensive line plan this season:

"I understand it. Some of its it's injury-related, COVID circumstances recently kind of played out. This past game we were down multiple players when you think about [Germain] Ifedi, Elijah Wilkinson and then along with Borom and [Teven] Jenkins being on IR. But we've got some guys coming back, some of them for this game, and that should have a positive effect. With that said, we've been one of the better rushing teams in the NFL this season, and I do think that's a credit to those guys. And we see improvement as we go forward."

On whether the Bears could be active before Tuesday's trade deadline:

"We're always looking at ways to improve our team. This time of year there's so much constant dialogue with all the other teams; it's constantly ongoing. I think if something presents itself to make us better, we'll always talk through it as a staff. It's no different this week. We've made several trades this season and our aggressive mindset will be ongoing."

On 49ers star linebacker Fred Warner:

"Fourth-year player, one of the top inside linebackers in the league, just an excellent third-round pick by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. He was first-team All-Pro last year. What stands out, he's got really high-end speed and he's got high-end football instincts, and that's a good combination. He wears the green dot on their defense (to relay play-calls to his teammates). He's an excellent communicator re-snap and really the centerpiece of a really good 49er defense."