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Pace talks Bears-Packers on radio pregame show


General manager Ryan Pace spoke with Jeff Joniak Sunday on the Bears pregame radio show on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM. The following is a transcript of Pace's comments:

On last weekend's win over the Raiders in Las Vegas:

"I think we played more of a complete game, really all three phases. Our guys played really physical from start to finish. Now our goal is to carry that same mentality consistently throughout the season."

On rookie quarterback Justin Fields taking a number of hard hits:

"He took some shots, and a lot of that is just part of the game. One thing I think we all know is his toughness. We saw it in college. It's carried over to the NFL. His teammates definitely see that and notice that, too. But there's a balance of taking advantage of your athleticism and then being smart at the right moments, and Justin understands that."

On Fields following a "roadmap" in his development:

"It's steady progress; that's what it's been. We see it every day on the practice field. You see it in the games, too. We all know the challenges that these rookie quarterbacks encounter—naturally, it's just part of that process—but he's learning through these moments, and that's what's most critical for him."

On rookie running back Khalil Herbert:

"He's been impressive since the moment he stepped into Halas Hall. It's a big credit to him. It's a huge credit to our college scouts during the draft process. You look back at some of the analytics coming out: he was second amongst college running backs in yards after contact, he was third amongst college running backs in rushing average, and I think you're seeing some of that. He's got an amazing opportunity today, and we know he'll take advantage of it."

On Herbert's running style:

"He's got outstanding instincts and vision, and that showed up at Virginia Tech for sure. But then when he makes a decision, he's decisive and he's downhill. And I think his lower body strength is a little underrated. He's strong in the lower body, and you'll see him push the pile and break tackles because of that."

On the offensive line feeling empowered:

"I feel it, too. I think that group is gelling together. I feel like as a unit, they've taken ownership and a lot of pride in the things we're doing offensively. And it's a credit to each one of them individually. Each one of those guys is a credit to [coach] Juan Castillo, and [assistant] Donovan Raiola doing a great job. That group works extremely hard. You see it every day at Halas Hall, and you see it paying off."

On having veteran Elijah Wilkinson available to step in for the injured Germain Ifedi at right tackle:

"He has a lot of experience in this league. He started 26 games in the NFL. You feel that experience from him when he gets a chance, and we still feel like he's improving. He's only 26 years old, so we still feel there's upside and development with him along with that experience that he has."

On first-year defensive coordinator Sean Desai's creativity and deployment of personnel:

"Sean and his staff continue to do a great job. I look at that defensive staff and they're all highly intelligent, they all have high-end work ethics, they're excellent teachers, and you see that applying on gameday. Today, we all know the challenge we have in front of us in defending this Green Bay offense, and those guys will be ready."

On whether the defense is in a good place mentally to face three-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers:

"This offense continues to be one of the elite offenses in the league. The Hall of Fame quarterback, combined with all of the offensive threats that they have, makes them extremely dangerous. Our defense obviously knows this. They respect this. And everyone understands the challenge at hand."

On Packers tight end Robert Tonyan:

"He's a talented 'U' tight end. He's had a really unique journey up until this point. He was a college free agent at Indiana State. He originally signs with Detroit. He ends up on Green Bay's practice squad, and he develops from there. You can tell when you watch him he's got very good chemistry with Aaron Rodgers, and you feel that trust in a lot of critical plays that they make."