Bears general manager Ryan Pace spoke to play-by-play announcer Jeff Joniak on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM prior to Sunday's game against the Vikings. The following is a transcript of that interview.
On win over 49ers:
"I think it was a tough road win against a team that had really been playing well in recent weeks, and I thought our offense, we adapted well to what they were doing to us defensively, and then really our defense, we did a good job holding them to field goals."
On defensive consistency:
"Consistency, that stands out. I think they're playing really well as an entire group. So it's not just one position. It's the d-line, it's the linebackers, it's the secondary, yeah that's impressive to see."
On quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's play against the 49ers:
"I think we adapted to the situation at hand. I think the quarterback adapted. He was accurate throughout the game. There were a lot of key third-down completions and you said it, our ability to sustain longer drives, that was important that game, and I thought we really dominated the time of possession."
On Trubisky's growth:
"I think as you watch it kind of unfold it's just him gaining more confidence with each rep that he gets, and we talk about it every week. It's not just Mitch, it's the entire offense, and you just feel the chemistry, the comfort level as they learn the playbook, and it just allows them to play fast and confident, and I think you feel that."
On Bears' focus against Vikings:
"I think there's a lot at stake. We approach this game to play our best football and this could be a tough game. The Vikings are obviously a good team. It's going to be a playoff-like atmosphere, and we better be ready to roll."
On importance of having a coach with prior playoff experience:
"I think it's really valuable, and Matt's been around a lot of success, so you know we'll definitely lean on that as a team, but I just think, when you think about his interview and that whole process, really there's so much research that goes on before the interview, you feel like you have a lot of those answers. But Matt, you've been around him long enough to know, he exudes confidence, and that's infectious to the entire organization, not just the players. But the thing that I remember about the interview is when he came in, the night before [the Chiefs] had just played the Tennessee Titans and immediately he went to that game, kind of what went wrong, and what he learned from that, and I thought that was impressive."
On coaching staff:
"I think when you talk about a coaching staff, immediately everybody thinks about the X's and O's, and play-calling and schemes, and obviously that's important and that's huge. But I think another huge component is the development of our players, and we can draft the right players but they can fail or succeed based on that player development that takes place, and I think it's an organizational effort obviously, and I think our coaches take a lot of pride in developing our players and that's good to see."
On possibility of playing Vikings in back-to-back weeks:
"I've never experienced that, and I think all we can do right now, all our focus is on directly what's in front of us, and then the rest of it is just going to play out, however that happens, and I think right now, we're locked into this opponent, and it's going to be a difficult environment today and we've got to be ready."
On reactivating offensive lineman Kyle Long to the roster:
"He's worked extremely hard to get himself back and in a position to play. He really, it's a credit to him, our doctors, our trainers, our strength coaches. You know, he obviously gives our offense a huge boost when he's in there. We're excited to get him back out there with his teammates."
On offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann stepping up during Long's absence:
"I feel fortunate that we were able to pick him up when we did. You said his knowledge of the offense, that was important. We could just put him right in, and he's done a great job, and I think he's a true pro just the way he approaches everything, and again, we're fortunate to have him."
On Vikings defense:
"You look at this team as a total team and I think they're just overall solid in so many areas, and can't say enough about the job coach [Mike] Zimmer and [general manager] Rick Spielman have done in constructing that team, because I just think they're a real solid team. On offense, they're kind of clicking on all cylinders right now, and then you said it, the defense is playing at an elite level. They're first in sacks; they're first in third down; they're first in red zone, so this is a really good team we're facing."
On Vikings running back Dalvin Cook:
"Explosive player. He's really versatile in their offense, so he's an asset for them in the pass game, obviously as a running back. He's got great balance, so you see him break tackles and keep his feet, and then the trait that stands out with this guy too is his home run speed. He's a threat to score at any moment."