Bears general manager Ryan Pace appeared on the WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM pregame show before Sunday night's first-place clash with the Vikings. The following is a transcript of that interview:
On win over Lions:
"I think just looking back on that week, the pass game in general stood out, the quarterback played well. The pass protection was outstanding. Then the defense, six sacks, so pressure on the opposing quarterback and three takeaways, and that's what our defense has been doing all year. We need to keep that up."
On quarterback Mitchell Trubisky being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week:
"It's good recognition, but I know Mitch talked about it as well, we're taking it one game at a time. It was great against a division opponent, but we've got a big one tonight against a tough division opponent, and I think really when you see things like that happen it's a byproduct of team success, when you see these individual awards coming through, and that's a good thing."
On Trubisky facing team he had first NFL start against:
"We talk about it all the time how valuable these experiences are and how valuable these reps are, and allbeit we're in a new offense. He can look back at a lot of those experiences and what he's seen in defense and catalog all those things in his head. I think, you know Matt [Nagy] talks about it, Mitch talks about it, you see that happening as we go forward. You build off those experiences, and I just think that makes you more comfortable as player, that makes you more confident as a player, and I think you see that in his play right now."
On kicker Cody Parkey:
"First off he's handled it like a pro, and we expect that and that's a credit to him. He's worked hard and we know he's going to bounce back. He's a good kicker. We believe in him. He's mentality tough. He's confident, all the things you want in that position, Cody possesses and we're glad he's here."
On Parkey practicing at Soldier Field during the week:
"I think anytime you can go there and practice in that environment, I think that's been official and I know that's been done in the past here as well, and I think there's a lot of benefit to that. I also think, you know, we're all big believers in visualizations and being in that environment where you're going to kick tonight, and he did that twice this week with all the other specialists, and I think it was a good thing."
On teammates' support for Parkey:
"I think it's awesome. I think it speaks to the closeness of our team. All of us. Every single person in this building is going to go through adversity at different times. You know, we've all got each other's back. It's a really close-knit group, and that's something that's real and that's something that's organic here, and I think that's going to carry us going forward."
On having receiver Allen Robinson II and linebacker Khalil Mack back:
"The way they played, obviously you see how talented they are and that's real, but I think beyond them being great players, is the leaders they are for this team, and the public and our fans see it on Sunday, but we see it throughout the week, in meeting rooms, on the practice field, those two guys, obviously two of our better players, but two of our best leaders, and I think that's impactful."
On Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Vikings offense:
"High completion percentage. I think he's tops in the NFL, or near the tops in the NFL in completion percentage. Just a high powered offense with a lot of weapons and [Vikings offensive coordinator John Defilippo] knows how to use those weapons and use those guys to their strengths, and it's a really good team and obviously we understand the big challenge ahead tonight."
On Bears and Vikings similar defenses:
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Minnesota and for [Vikings coach Mike Zimmer] and what they've done with the defense there, for sure. What's good about it is they've done it at a consistent level, and you know I worked with Mike's son Adam earlier in our careers, so I have a lot of familiarity with that family and a lot of respect for that family, and they've got a lot of great players on that defense and they know how to use them and that's why this will be a big challenge."
On Vikings RB Dalvin Cook:
"Obviously highly-talented player. He was a second-round pick last year, you know, he's come back from that injury in a strong way, and really he's an all-purpose back, and they'll move him all over the offense, and the most dangerous part of his game , there's a lot of traits that he has, but is his speed. You know, he's a home run threat at any moment. They use him in the pass game. He's a savvy route runner, so just an explosive talented player that we're going to definitely have to definitely keep our eye on."