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 win over the Lions establishing an identity for the Bears:
"Matt [Nagy] challenged our team to play with a physical mentality, and I thought our guys really responded. It's a credit to our players. It's a credit to our offensive line. Those guys take a lot of pride in it; the ownership they have in executing the game plan, and I thought it showed against the Lions."
On receiver Darnell Mooney's performance:
"Mooney's been doing that throughout practices, throughout camp. We know the caliber of player he is, the speed he has. He had a big day; a lot of explosive plays to him. I thought even Allen Robinson II, when you look at him, the critical third-down catches that he had. So both of those guys, Mooney and A-Rob, they're obviously important to our team and really good for a young quarterback to have at his disposal."
On the open discussion in the building leading to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor calling plays:
"That open discussion and that collaboration, it's something we've always done and it's just been really natural for us, natural in the environment that we have. Last week was just a really good example of seeing all that work culminating into results on Sunday."
On Justin Fields being named the Bears' starting quarterback:
"That evaluation and those type of discussions, they're constantly happening. It's constantly fluid, as I look back on it. We always have the dialogue internally. With Andy [Dalton] coming back healthy, the decision had to be made, the decision had to be made about what's best for the Bears. Matt made the decision and we're marching forward."
On Dalton calling Fields after the decision was made to offer his support:
"[Dalton] is unbelievable. I really mean this. I know Matt said this, too. You're in this long enough, you're able to be around a lot of special people in our league, and Andy's right at the top. He's got special makeup, he's authentic, he's genuine, he's an unbelievable teammate, and that's every single day through good times and bad times. We're so lucky to have him on our team and he's handled this very well."
On riding the wave that could be bouncy at times with a rookie quarterback:
"There are going to be ebbs and flows; we know that. That's life with a rookie quarterback and that's part of his growth. He'll progress with this experience. We've got to be good around him, too, on offense and defense and special teams, and we will be. We're all connected on this and we're all going forward."
On being relieved that running back David Montgomery's knee injury was not season-ending:
"I think it's a credit, too, to the work he puts in. Injuries are unfortunate, but when you train hard and you work like David does, I think sometimes you fortify your body, to some extent, and sometimes when you get in these positions, something that could be maybe a little worse isn't as bad as maybe it could have been because you've built your body so strong, and David's an example of that. I think we kind of dodged one there. He's working his tail off to get back with our trainers and strength coaches, and we're supporting him along the way."
On Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert filling the void in Montgomery's absence:
"We've said since training camp that we love the depth of our running back room, and now it's an opportunity for us to showcase that. We're all excited to see Damien and Khalil get their chance. We've been seeing it every day in practice. Now, everybody's going to get a chance to see that, and we're excited about that."
On the defense's performance:
"[Defensive coordinator] Sean [Desai] and his staff continue to do a great job, and the defense continues to grow and evolve each week. With that, there are different defensive players that are stepping up each game, and that's awesome to see. But you look at this game today and we're definitely going to have our hands full. This is one of the elite offenses in the NFL and our guys have got to be ready to go."
On acquiring receiver/return specialist Jakeem Grant Sr. in a trade with the Dolphins:
"Jakeem's a guy that we've been monitoring for a long time. We're always looking for ways to improve the team, and when this opportunity presented itself, we were all excited to add this player. The spark that he provides, the juice that he provides on special teams, on offense, he's an exciting kind of electric player and it's exciting to have him."