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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 Sunday's loss to the Cardinals:

"You look back on that game and, offensively, we're running the football. I thought going into it, the game plan was solid in regards to that. We averaged 4.1 [yards] a carry. We were able to move the football. The time of possession was good. But, obviously, it's difficult when you turn the ball over four times, especially when you're giving the Arizona offense the ball on our end of the field. That's not a recipe for success."

On the defense's performance against the Cardinals:

"The defense had to start drives four times inside our 28-yard line. But at the same time, I know our coaches and defensive players will tell you, 'We need to step up in sudden change situations and keep them out of the end zone.' I do think the goal-line stop was one example of that where they stood their ground, and we just needed a little bit more of that."

On the defense failing to produce takeaways:

When you talk about takeaways, our defense has always prided itself on affecting the quarterback and generating takeaways, and through the second half of the season we haven't gotten the takeaways we need to really positively affect the game. It's something we continue to emphasize, understanding it's a consistent mindset our coaches and players are constantly talking about. Now, we've just got to see it come to fruition in a game."

On running back David Montgomery's performance against the Cardinals:

"When you talk about David, his love and passion for the game, it shows up in his style of play. His preparation, his work ethic during the week shows up on Sunday with how he plays. The more players we could have that are obsessed with the process like David is, the better we're going to be."

On linebacker Roquan Smith having the same type of attitude as Montgomery:

"You talk about David Montgomery, you talk about Roquan Smith, they're very similar when you look at them, and they're really two of our main leaders on offense and defense. Obviously, they're great players, but it's their daily approach that stands out when you look at it. As we continue to build the roster, our coaches and scouts understand the makeup we want to hit on with every selection, and I think Roquan and David Montgomery epitomize that."

On any concerns with the team's mindset having lost six of last seven games:

"Obviously, we're not where we want to be at this point. The mindset is to reset; focus on each opponent each week and really control what we can control. This is a big-time matchup, we know that. It's a rivalry and a major opportunity for us on Sunday Night Football."

On rookie quarterback Justin Fields returning to action and his development the rest of the season:

"As you look at Justin, his knowledge of the offense continues to grow, his knowledge of opposing defenses and what they're trying to do continues to grow. As a rookie, you have a standout physical skill set that he has, but with the play-time, the game continues to slow down for him, and we feel that. He's an extremely hard worker. He's an ascending player and our entire team is excited to get him back out there."

On receiver Allen Robinson II's return from injury and his season so far:

"Allen's looked healthy all week; he's really had a good week of practice. We're excited to get him back. He's a big part of our offense and we've really missed having him out there. He's just a bigger target for the quarterback, an excellent route runner. There's a variety of reasons I think when you look at the production [being down], but just having his presence out there benefits our offense. He's a real high-end player that's going to give us a big boost."

On the Bears' lack of success against the Packers:

"Green Bay has been one of the better teams in the league in recent years and they've been in the NFC championship the past two years for a reason. It starts with them having an elite quarterback, and we know that. We understand that as a franchise. We understand the importance of the rivalry, and you've got to be on your 'A' game in these type of matchups, and we're going to need that from our team tonight."

On Packers 247-pound running back A.J. Dillon:

"Second-year player, second-round pick. He's a big, physical back. He pairs well with Aaron Jones. They kind of split the carries there. He's a downhill, between-the-tackles, decisive north-south runner, and he's just a big, powerful back that's difficult to get down. You've really got to wrap up and gang tackle him and swarm to him to get him on the ground. And again, he pairs well in their offense."

On outside linebacker Cassius Marsh Sr., who was placed on injured reserve after sustaining a knee injury Thursday in practice:

"He brings so much energy every single day. He's always got a great smile on his face. He was a good addition by our pro staff in-season, and he's really been playing well and worked himself into great football shape, so that was disappointing to see. We just have our arms around him right now as he starts his recovery."

On veteran linebacker Bruce Irvin being promoted from the practice squad:

"Bruce Irvin has also been a good addition. We're fortunate to have him in our building. We were able to activate him to the 53-man roster and we're excited to see his progress, too."

On signing fullback Ben Mason to the practice squad:

"He was a really good player at Michigan and we had solid college grades on him going through the draft process. He was a fifth-round pick by Baltimore. He was on New England's practice squad for a little bit. He's a guy we kept our eye on. It really goes back to he's a good fullback, he's a good special teams player, but he's got really good football makeup when you look at it: His toughness, everything they said about him at Michigan, and we talk about the type of guys we want to bring in here from a toughness standpoint, from a work ethic standpoint, from a passion standpoint. Guys like this have that, and even on your practice squad, we're always trying to get better."