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Pace talks Bears before Falcons game


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

How does it feel to be 2-0 given how the wins have come?

"I don't think we take them for granted no matter how they come. What we like about the 2-0 start is that our team's hungry, we know we can be better in all three phases and there are things we know we need to get cleaned up. And coach [Matt] Nagy's on top of that, just locked in, getting our guys better."

Cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson have really performed well in the first two games. What do you think about that tandem?

"I think our whole secondary is playing well right now when you put them all together. Today, it's a huge challenge with Matt Ryan and this offense. But you look at a guy like Jaylon Johnson and just the confidence that he plays with for a rookie; it shows with all of the pass breakups that he's gotten. And Fuller is just a steady Pro Bowl presence for us and really a threat to take the ball away on any play. So we're happy with those guys right now."

There's been a lot of talk in the media about linebacker Danny Trevathan not playing as much last Sunday against the Giants. Was that matchup-related?

"It's matchup-related, and you know Danny: he's a pro, and I think he recognizes the personnel matchups and doing what's best for our team on a game-by-game basis. It can change, and Danny understands that. And that's why he's a leader of this entire team on just how he operates and how he carries himself."

Are you optimistic that the offense will play with more consistency?

"I am. We've shown flashes: the fourth quarter in Detroit, the first half versus the Giants. We all know we have to put it all together on a consistent basis. But we're optimistic that's coming."

How tough is David Montgomery?

"He's tough. It's mentality, it's physically, no question. He played that way in college and just carried it right into the NFL, just the relentless style that he runs with, the contact balance. He's a load to bring down. He sets the tone with our run game. He's averaging five yards a carry right now and that's just because of his style of play."

Left guard James Daniels appears to be more aggressive and physical and it looks like he's always looking for someone to hit. Would you agree with that?

"I'm right there with you, no question. The last game that he played against the Giants was probably his best game as an NFL player. I was just talking to our strength coaches about this. He's gotten a lot stronger in the weight room. This is just Year 3 for him, so he's gotten stronger, he's gained experience. He's playing at a really high level right now. I love the aggression and just the nastiness that he's playing with right now. It's awesome to see."

Is the strength that he added more in his upper or lower body?

"I would say a lot in his lower body. James was so young when we drafted him and we knew he was a little piece of clay that we were going to mold. I think that's when you talk about drafting the right players is obviously the first piece, but developing them once they're in your building [is also key], and a lot of credit goes to our strength coaches in getting him to where he's at right now, along with [offensive line coach] Juan Castillo."

What are your thoughts on signing Tarik Cohen to a contract extension?

"We're all excited with the extension. You know the versatility that he brings on offense and special teams. He's got a really unique skill set that fits our offense, and beyond that, he embodies the character and the energy that we love having in our building. Tarik's still a young player and he's still improving in a lot of areas, and we were real happy to get that done."

The Falcons are 0-2, but aren't they still a dangerous team that is backed into a corner?

"There's no question, and I think this is a really talented team and it starts with coach [Dan] Quinn and [general manager] Thomas Dimitroff. We have so much respect for both those guys. They've accumulated a lot of talent. They have an experienced staff and we clearly understand we're going to have to be at our very best today if we want to have success."

What's your assessment of Falcons safety Keanu Neal?

"He's just an enforcer, just a really physical player. He plays [with an] extremely high motor, a hundred miles an hour every snap. You've just got to be on the lookout for him because he's a physical hitter."