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 Jets. The following is a transcript of that interview.
On Bears coach Matt Nagy dealing with ups and downs of season and if that's setting the tone for the team:
"I think it is. It's something we talk about a lot, and to be honest with you, it's something we talked about in the interview process. He's been through peaks and valleys. Kansas City went through a stretch last year with some adversity, and it's something we looked closely at to see how they responded. And even if you think about when we interviewed him, he'd gone through a valley the day before [with a playoff loss] and that actually pushed up the interview. Matt's a very positive, glass half-full head coach, and I think that is infectious to our team."
On Nagy's even-keeled approach:
"I think it's critical, because inevitably in this league you're going to go through peaks and valleys and ups and downs, and you're going to hit adversity, and it's about how you respond to those moments, and I think Matt's really good at response."
On the team's overall offensive performance:
"It's coming together. You feel it gelling together. I know we keep on saying that, but it's a new offensive scheme with a lot of new players and young quarterback, and it's coming together. You used the word execution. It's about our players executing at critical moments, and I think we're going to continue to iron it out."
On the defense's recent performance:
"Really when you look at it we need to play better, and I think we all recognize that. I know [Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio] has talked a lot about tackling. We need to improve our tackling, and I think we need to improve in our ability to affect the opposing quarterback. So those are the two things that I think jump out, and those are areas that we need to get better at."
On linebacker Khalil Mack's status:
"With a guy like Khalil, he's a tough, tough individual, so we measure him playing, but also being smart with it and treating him the right way. I don't think he's ever missed a game and that's kind of his mindset, so we've just got to be smart as an organization how we handle that."
On the status of receiver Allen Robinson II:
"Same thing. Both these guys have been very durable players, and it means a lot to them. We've just got to be smart as a club with on how we handle those situations."
On offensive lineman James Daniels getting his first start this Sunday:
"He's a very young player, but we knew this coming out of college. He's very football intelligent, so he absorbs things. He gets better with every experience. I think he's a naturally athletic guy, so when you talk about ability to recover and things like that, it's very easy for James."
On Nagy emphasizing a stronger run game:
"I think there's an emphasis on it. We both know that the run and the pass game need to complement each other. We get our run game going, it's going to help the success of our pass game, and that's going to be critical going forward."
On Jets defense:
"I think when you think about the Jets defense you think about [Jets coach] Todd Bowles and what they do there. It's a heavy-pressure scheme. They're a very good defense that's well rounded. I think they're top-five in third down, they're top-five in the red zone, so this is going to be a big challenge."
On if this game is a must-win:
"I know I've heard Matt say this: They're all must wins. You know it. We take it one day at a time, and that'll be no different this weekend."
On upcoming trade deadline:
"Every club is calling other clubs, and you're just kind of feeling it out and gauging the temperature on different things. You want to be aware of what's going on around the league. It doesn't mean you're going to be active in it, but you want to know what's going on."
On having the ability to make trades when needed:
"That's for sure. I think you're always exploring avenues to make your team better, and that never stops."
On Jets safety Jamal Adams:
"Really good player obviously. High football character. High intangibles. Got a ton of respect for him, we do as an organization. The Jets are really using him in a really good manner. He's playing down a lot. He's a real aggressive, physical player. He's a heavy blitzer. He's instinctive. He's just a good all-around safety."