Bears general manager Ryan Pace appeared on the WBBM 780 AM and 105.9 FM pre-game show in advance of Sunday's home game against the Steelers. Here's a transcript of that interview:
On the importance of all 16 games:
I think you're right. I think they do have extreme value when you only have 16 games in the league. But I think there is an element of teams kind of finding themselves in the first quarter of the season, sometimes especially offensively, kind of your identity. Things can kind of shift around based on injuries. I think there's a little bit of that, but every one of these games is critical."
On the status of injured linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski:
"Nick suffered a pec injury. It doesn't appear to be as serious as Jerrell [Freeman's] was, so that's a good thing. We're kind of going to evaluate it day-by-day right now and it's just a determination, 'Hey is this an IR-to-return candidate or is this somebody we don't necessarily need to do that and he can come back a little earlier. So we're kind of going through that process as we speak."
On the expected return of Markus Wheaton, Kyle Long and Prince Amukamara:
"It's definitely a boost to the roster. All those guys are starters for us. They've all practiced well. There's a good energy around them right now. Fresh legs. Those guys had a good week of practice. So that's really encouraging."
On how quarterback Mike Glennon is dealing with outside criticism:
"I think it's Mike, it's really our whole team, it's our whole building. It's just blocking out the outside noise. I think we've got a lot of good guys that could do that and focus on what matters and that's inside our locker room. Mike's just in his third game with us now. There's a growth process that takes place with all new players and that's no different with Mike."
On conversations about the quarterback situation with coach John Fox:
"With us internally and the way we operate there are conversations ongoing constantly. John and I are talking about not just our roster but everything within our football operations on a constant basis. That's the relationship we have and that's no different with quarterback or any position."
On the plan to develop Mitchell Trubisky and understanding that fans want to see the rookie quarterback play:
"I think with Mitch every moment that he's out there he's getting better and we see it in practice, just continued progress and continuing to get better. And I think as a young player the more things he sees in practices, the more experiences he has, you're just building upon those and you're stacking good practices and he's doing that. So you're seeing the progress. In regards to the excitement around Mitch, I'm excited about Mitch too; I think everybody is and that's a good thing. We should be. He's a high pick. He's a good young player. He's an important part of our future. So everybody's very excited about him."
On whether there's a right or wrong time to play a rookie quarterback:
"Honestly I think it's a case-by-case basis. You're looking at the situations with that player, the situations with your team. We could go through history and look at each situation. They're all different. But it's really a case-by-case analysis on each one of those."
On Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward:
"We've liked him for a long time. I think what stands out with him is first of all he's a really well-rounded defender, really good strength and power. What we like most about him is really the leverage that he plays with. He plays with really good pad level, really good leverage, and that shows up not only in the run game but also as a pass rusher. He's powerful and he's explosive because of that natural leverage."