General manager Ryan Pace spoke with Jeff Joniak Sunday morning on the Bears pregame radio show on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM. The following is a transcript of Pace's comments:
How do you think your team has come through the storm?
"I think everything over the past six months has brought us closer. I think it's allowed us to have a lot of real conversations. We're tighter, we're unified. I think it's built on an already strong culture that we have."
What might happen on the field (in terms of possible demonstrations), what have discussions been like and what has the team arrived at?
"It's not like we've just had one discussion. It's been constant and open dialogue through the whole process. What's been awesome about it is the support we've had from the McCaskey family and Ted [Phillips], and I know the players feel it from myself and Matt [Nagy]. We're in a time where this can be divisive, but for our players and our Bears family, I feel it's brought us closer together. It's led to a lot of really good conversations. From our standpoint, really it's just about action from here; more than words, action."
Mitchell Trubisky has performed well against the Lions and is entering the season with confidence. Do you think he's poised to be what you hoped he would be right now?
"For sure. He's healthy, which is one thing. Last year, he was dealing with a shoulder. He's healthy. He's had a really good camp. It's all about carrying that momentum now into the regular season. I feel like our entire offense had a good camp, so we're excited that we're finally here, we're at a time when it counts, and kind of go out here today and perform."
Coach Nagy has said that he wants the Bears to possess an aggressive and attacking mentality. Is that how you've seen him go about his business since January?
"A hundred percent. The reoccurring themes I feel with Matt have been attacking, aggressive, [and] to focus on the details. It's been somewhat of a mantra as we've approached this season. It's applied not just to the players, but every area of our football operation: attacking, aggressive, details."
What are your expectations for the defense?
"Our expectations for our defense are always high. They put that on themselves, too. We're healthy on defense. They've also had a really good camp. I think you feel just the cohesion and better communication as we enter Year 2 with this defensive staff, so right now it's trending the right way, and again it's another one of those things, let's carry it into this game."
What is your concern with outside linebacker Robert Quinn's availability?
"We feel good with the path that he's on. Anytime a player isn't 100 percent, there's always a level of concern; we want all of our guys to be 100 percent healthy and hopefully he is there soon. But we feel good about the path that he's on."
You've used the term multiplier to describe Khalil Mack. Are we throwing guys like Akiem Hicks in there, and is Roquan Smith about to be?
"You can name so many guys on our defense. You keep on going: the Danny Trevathans, the Kyle Fullers and the Eddie Jacksons. There's just so much leadership on the defense. They're all very aggressive in the way they play. What's cool about it is they all provide leadership in a unique manner. They're all different, but I think they all feed off each other. They really set the tone of our defense, and honestly, the tone of our team."
How much are you looking forward to seeing top draft picks Cole Kmet and Jaylon Johnson play?
"They were both high picks for a reason. They both had very good camps. I think the common trait with this rookie class, but especially those two, is just a professional mindset. The game is really important to them. Even on and off the field, just the way they carry themselves, they're wise beyond their years. So I think it's a credit to them. It's a credit to our coaches getting those young guys ready to play this fast. So I'm excited to see them in a Bears uniform when it counts."
Would you say that a healthy Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is a dangerous Matthew Stafford?
"Oh, for sure. He's one of the elite quarterbacks in the league, as we know. He's healthy now. All reports are that he's had an outstanding camp. He's got a lot of weapons around him, with the receivers and the tight ends and they've bulked up their run game. You can tell that was an emphasis for them this offseason. So there's talent at the running back position, so it's a talented team."
What are your thoughts on Lions defensive end Trey Flowers?
"He's one of the many players on their roster who has come over from the Patriots. That's kind of a common theme. But Trey's a very disruptive player. He's one of those guys where his production doesn't always show up on the stat sheet. But he's a disruptive player. He's one of the more impactful players on that side of the ball. He's someone we have to be well aware of where he's at."