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Pace talks Bears-Steelers on radio pregame show


General manager Ryan Pace spoke with Jeff Joniak Monday 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 how Chris Tabor performed last Sunday as acting head coach and Matt Nagy rejoining the Bears with renewed vigor:

"I thought Chris Tabor did a good job. He managed the game well. We stayed on schedule all week leading into it. In the game, he was calm, composed, confident. And then in regard to Matt, he comes back rejuvenated. As difficult as that was for him, I think maybe there's a silver lining just from a perspective standpoint. For him being able to step away briefly and take a 30,000-foot view, I think that can bode well."

On defensive coordinator Sean Desai being very direct and resolute when discussing the errors the defense made versus the 49ers:

"That's naturally his personality. I just have so much confidence in coach Desai and those players. They've played at certain stages in the year like a top defense. It's there. Not having some key players right now hurts us. But we'll adjust around that, and again, I have a lot of confidence in coach Desai."

On feeling that sacks and takeaways will come:

"I do. It's definitely been a focus for us. Through the first five weeks, I think we were first in the league in sacks. Pressure on the quarterback usually equates with takeaways. We need to get back to that level of defensive play."

On missing key defensive players at various times throughout the season:

"I think that there's an element of chemistry that comes with that when you have those guys all playing together. But every team deals with injuries, and guys are getting healthier at the right time. I think this bye comes at a really good time for us at the midway point of the season, and we'll get a lot of those guys back."

On recently-acquired outside linebacker Cassius Marsh:

"I feel like we've liked him for a long time. We tried to claim him back in 2017 I believe. Eight-year vet, played in multiple schemes, smart player, experienced, has got a lot of length, can set the edge, and just brings a lot of experience to our defense, and we're happy to have him."

On rookie quarterback Justin Fields' growth:

"Especially in recent weeks, you feel his decisiveness, confidence, timing. In the last game, he really used his athleticism. You see it in practice every day, too, just his practice and preparation continues to shine, so that's all been good. You see it translate to game day. Just need to keep on building and stacking upon that, knowing there will be ebbs and flows with any rookie quarterback, but excited about his progress."

On offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and feeling that the passing game will open up:

"I feel like it's coming. It's coming together. We've got the run game going, and a lot of things are tied to that. Matt and Bill are tied together, along with 'Flip' (quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo) and [offensive line coach] Juan [Castillo]. Lazor's done a great job. He's experienced, he's calm, he's cool. He's calling [plays] from the booth, kind of in a calm environment. He's matching the run game with the pass game and doing a great job. We feel like the pass game's coming along and getting more players involved."

On the return of running back David Montgomery from a knee injury:

"First off, David's recovery's been awesome. He looks 100 percent, and it's a credit to him, our strength staff and our athletic trainers. You've got David Montgomery and Khalil Hebert together; I love their run style. I love their professionalism and their work ethic. You add in Damien Williams, a legit running back as well, so it's a really good backfield. I think it's the strength of our team and something we can lean on."

On rookie right tackle Larry Borom:

"He had a good first start against the 49ers, and just to continue to grow from that experience. The moment's never been too big for him. You kind of felt that since he got here. He's got a big-time challenge tonight on the road, Monday Night Football, loud environment, going against one of the elite defensive players in our league in T.J. Watt."

On Watt:

"You just look at his production. I think he's currently second in the league in sacks and also in quarterback hit percentage. Over the past three years, he has the most sacks in the NFL. This guy's just got a knack for sacking the quarterback but also forcing fumbles. He plays with an outstanding combination of toughness and athletic ability, and he's truly one of the elite defensive players in our league."