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Pace talks Bears-Chiefs during radio interview


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 that conversation.

On last Sunday's loss to the Packers:

"You look back on it and we just didn't make the necessary plays, especially early in the game, to really take advantage of the situations we were in. We struggled in the red zone, didn't convert some critical fourth downs. Defensively, we come out after halftime and allow two consecutive drives for touchdowns. There were some positives, but all-in-all we know we can't play like that, especially on the road against a good opponent."

On Akiem Hicks fighting through a painful elbow injury:

"I think it says a lot about Akiem. We always talk about guys with toughness and passion for the game, and that's Akiem. We've got a lot of high character in our locker room and we focus on those traits. Our expectation is those traits really shine through in these next two weeks."

On the Bears offense averaging over 400 yards in the last three games:

"We talked about finding an offensive identity and I think in a lot of ways we've done that. You felt it the previous two weeks, but we know we can play better than how we performed in Green Bay. That's a game where we moved the ball, but we just didn't finish drives. We've got to be better in that area."

On Anthony Miller joining Allen Robinson to give the Bears two productive receivers:

"I think you're looking at two different types of players in A-Rob and Anthony Miller. Obviously they're talented weapons for our offense no doubt. You've seen that connection with Mitch [Trubisky] grow with experience and reps with both of those players, and that's really helped the offense."

On the inevitable comparison between Trubisky and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes:

"You understand the narrative—players at the same position in the same draft class are always compared at any position. But our focus is on our situation and continued growth from our quarterback and really the whole offense."

On what he's looking for from Trubisky in the final two games of season:

"The evaluation is ongoing for the entire team, especially in these next two games. These games are important to us and our goal is to win these games."

On where Trubisky has grown the most this season:

"You look at just his knowledge and comfort level in the offense in general. He's finishing Year 2 in this offensive scheme and every single rep is important for his growth. I think as he gains more reps you just feel his ability to play faster and more decisive and we've seen that jump out in the second part of the season. I just think that comes with that experience."

On Bears' Pro Bowl selections Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Cordarrelle Patterson not being celebrated as much this year because the team isn't winning:

"I agree with the sense that you got. I'm happy for those guys individually. All three of them are really well-deserving, and that's awesome. But I think they would tell you this: What's most important is winning and team success and that's really our focus."

On what caught his attention about the Andy Reid coaching tree and what led him to Matt Nagy:

"I look at that and first as an organization we have tremendous respect for coach Reid. He has a proven track record and the coaches that have really risen in his rank and that has proven time and time again. Matt's no exception, and I tell you this all the time: We're fortunate to have him as our head coach and he really has a blueprint for success from coach Reid."

On Nagy facing Reid:

"Matt's said all week that coach Reid is like family to him, and that's accurate and that's true. They're both playing to win this game. Matt's been locked in and really no different than he's been every week this week to me."

On the Chiefs:

"They're 10-4, definitely one of the better teams in the league as we all know; just a really well-rounded team [on] offense, defense, special teams. And then you combine that with a really strong coaching staff and you see why they're able to sustain it the way they are. There are major weapons throughout their offense. The defense has made big strides this year. I think [defensive coordinator Steve] Spagnola has done a good job there. It's just a dangerous team. You look at coach Reid and [general manager] Brett Veach and what they've done in building the roster and you see it right now."

On Chiefs rookie receiver/return specialist Mecole Hardman:

"Right away speed; the speed jumps out. You have a lot of speed on that offense and he just adds explosiveness to their team. Second-round pick, and his acceleration off the line, his ability to get vertical really fast and get behind a defense is what makes him dangerous. He's their returner, too, so he shows up on special teams as well. Just a dangerous player with elite-level speed."