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Pace talks Bears-Bengals on pregame radio 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 being excited for the home opener in front of a full Soldier Field:

"We felt it in the preseason and now in the regular season back at Soldier Field with all our fans, it's going to be exciting for our entire team and for our entire organization. We can't wait."

On what was learned in season-opening loss to Rams:

"It's Week 1 in the NFL season. It's definitely not the outcome that we wanted. But you put it all in perspective. You learn, you adjust, you adapt. You clean up some things in all three phases, [such as] the coverage breakdowns, etc. But there's also some things to build on top –our run game, we were solid on special teams. We got a good week of practice. Now it's just about executing on game day when it matters. We just need to make sure we're doing the right things and making the right adjustments to consistently get better as we get through this year."

On the Bears offense against the Rams:

"We were able to sustain some drives. We were balanced on offense, which was good to see. But we know collectively we need to finish. Unfortunately, we stalled out on too many occasions on the plus side of the field and we need to be better in that area."

On starting quarterback Andy Dalton's performance:

"I thought Andy made good decisions. We moved the ball as an entire offense, but as an entire offense we just need to finish drives. We all know that. It's been a real focus this week for us."

On how Justin Fields played and where he's headed:

"I think what good teams do is they find ways to maximize all the personnel they have on gameday, all 48 guys that are up on gameday, and that's what we're doing. And with Justin, he just continues to grow. These experiences are very important for him in that continued growth, and we see it every day."

On the Bears defense being angry after a disappointing performance in Los Angeles:

"I'm glad they're angry. There's a lot of pride on that side of the ball. We have a lot of experience in the back end of our defense and those guys know that can happen … again, there's a lot of pride in that group. We have a lot of confidence in that group moving forward and that's what we expect to see."

On multiple injuries at left tackle:

"We've worked through that, and [offensive line coach] Juan [Castillo] has done a good job. Jason Peters got nicked up, but we expect him back today. He had a really good week of practice. Unfortunately for [Larry] Borom … he stepped in and did a great job. We all see the talent he has. It gets you excited. But there's nothing you can do about [an ankle injury he sustained that landed him on injured reserve]. He got rolled up on, injured his ankle. Hopefully, we'll have him back soon. We have these IR-to-return rules that give us that flexibility with him. He was doing a great job. It was just unfortunate for him to get rolled up on like that."

On rookie Khalil Herbert's impressive debut as a kickoff returner:

"He's such a well-rounded player, not just as a kick returner but he's a really good running back. That's a deep room with David [Montgomery] and Damien [Williams], but we've got a ton of confidence in Khalil. I think it's a real credit to our college scouts to get him in the sixth round because we just think he has tremendous potential as we go forward."

On Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow:

"He's an extremely talented second-year quarterback. He's coming off that [knee] injury from last season, but he looks healthy now. He played well last week against the Vikings. Really talented coming out of LSU; he won a national championship and you get drafted No. 1 overall by Cincinnati. To me, his accuracy, his ball placement, that's always stood out, still stands out. You combine that with the natural athletic ability that he has and that's what makes him difficult to defend. So, it's a good challenge for our defense today."