Bears general manager Ryan Pace appeared on the WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM pregame show in advance of Sunday's contest against the Giants. The following is a transcript of that interview:
On winning three games in 12 days:
"I think it says a lot about our players and really our staff. Really start with [head coach Matt Nagy], we took it as a challenge and there were no excuses, there was never any complaining. It was just, 'hey let's go out and take care of business.' And I think we're a relatively young team, but I think that showed a sign of maturity the way we handled that."
On quarterback Chase Daniel:
"I think with Chase all of us that know him well, none of us were surprised by his performance. You know, he's a good player. He's got a strong work ethic and really high football IQ, so we're fortunate to have him, and I think you saw that pay benefit for us in the Lions game."
On quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's status:
"He's definitely progressing. I know Matt said it all week, it's really no different than Allen Robinson II or Khalil Mack and how we handled that. You know, these guys are intense competitors, so a lot of time we're protecting them from themselves, and that's the case with Mitch too. So we've got to do the right thing as an organization, and fortunately will feel good about our depth, and when these situations arise, but Mitch is in a good spot."
On notion that team is saving players for bigger games:
"These games are all huge, and our focus is on the Giants and the tough opponent on the road. So that's definitely not the case. It's just doing the right thing for the health of our players and taking advantage of the depth that we have."
On Nagy preaching taking season one game at a time:
"I think you go back and you lean on, you know, success you've had in the past and places you've been and Matt's been around recent success, and I think you just take it one game at a time. That's the phase of the season that we're in, and all these games are tough. You have to lock into the details and the urgency. We've had a great week of practice and that just needs to continue. But I think Matt does a great job of delivering that message to our team, and we have a team right now that's locked in."
On run game:
"Obviously it's been a focus for us, and we have a lot of confidence in our coaches and our players, and at the same time we're going to do whatever's necessary to win the game, and that can change week-by-week and that's the case, but we know down the stretch here that's an important element of our game and we're going to get the rolling."
On running back Jordan Howard's role:
"I think he's good, and I think he knows he's going to get opportunities and it's on him to take advantage of them when they come. And the good thing about Jordan, he's a true team player. You heard him say it this week. It's all about winning games. That's the most important thing. We're winning games right now, however that happens it can change week-to-week. Different guys will have different roles. We're going to need him down the stretch, and I know we'll take advantage of it."
On offensive guard Kyle Long's status:
"He's another guy we talk about intense competitors that want nothing more to be out there with their teammates. He's on a really good path right now, and fortunately we had the option of the IR to return, you know and I think that's still a real possibility for us."
On safety Eddie Jackson and the decision to draft him:
"I think when we reflect back on that draft pick, it's really a credit to our whole scouting department. You talk about [director of player personnel Josh Lucas, assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly and director of college scouting Mark Sadowski] and the job they do, and Eddie is somebody that we're all proud of and we can point to him in the draft as we looked at players. He's a top tier talent in instincts and ball skills, and we feel like he's getting better and better. But the thing that we really want to stress is his work ethic. The time that he puts in, the amount of film that he watches, of course he has good instincts and ball skills, but I think it's also a product of the preparation and the work and you see the production on the field."
More on Jackson:
"He's an extreme talent. I think one of the hardest positions to find, I've said this before, is the free safeties with ball skills. There are a lot of safeties in the league that can play down in the box, and that's an important trait too, but to find a rangy free safety with ball skills, that's a hard find and we're lucky to have him."
On Giants running back Saquon Barkley:
"Already one of the elite backs in the league, and I think he's a well-rounded running back. You look at him and he's extremely strong, he can break a lot of tackles. He's tops in all those categories. He's also elusive. He's also extremely fast where he can break a run at any moment. And then he contributes widely in their pass game, so he's a talented back. It doesn't surprise any of us. We loved him in the draft, and we're going to have to tackle well in this game. That's going to be imperative."