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Pace talks Rams loss, previews Giants game


General manager Ryan Pace spoke with Jeff Joniak Sunday morning 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 night's loss to the Rams:
"When you look back at a game like that, we've got to capitalize on opportunities when they exist, and we didn't score off of defensive takeaways, we stalled in the fringe area and we missed some field goals. So on the road against a good team, we know we can't have those kind of mistakes."

On the reaction and conjecture to how Mitchell Trubisky's hip injury was being from outside Halas Hall:
"I can just speak what's happening inside our building. He pushed through an injury during the game. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish. This week it's been a daily process for him to get healthy and we're optimistic about where he's headed."

On what's at stake for the 2019 Bears after losing five of their last six games:
"No doubt we're going through a tough stretch and we hit different types of adversity, it's hit our team throughout the year. No one is happy with the record. But this is when you lean on the right people, the right culture and this is where it's tested. We've got six games coming up here and it's a great opportunity for us."

On evaluating the team heading into 2020:
By nature Matt [Nagy] and I are both optimistic, glass half-full type of personalities. But I also think you have to be a realist and closely examine your team, and for us that's after every game and that's after every season. Those discussions are constant between Matt and I and between our personnel department and our coaches and that's really regardless of our final record."

On how the coaching staff has handled frustrations on offense this season:
"We have a lot of pride on the offensive side of the ball. That's with our players and that's with our coaches. Everyone knows we can be better, but at the same time I don't sense anyone's pointing fingers or anything like that. I just think we've got to work together to find solutions and grow from mistakes."

On how impactful the lack of production at tight end has been on the offense:
"There's no doubt that we've been affected at that position. The production's been down and some of that unfortunately has been because of injury. But we've got some players stepping up at the position with [Ben] Braunecker and [J.P.] Holtz and [Bradley] Sowell and now Jesper Horsted. In addition, I think we can pull from the receiver position, too, and that will help that production."

On expectations for tight end Jesper Horsted, an undrafted rookie who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster this week:
"With Jesper, I think if you go back and look, he was highly productive in college as a receiver. He went undrafted, didn't get signed after the draft, came here as a rookie minicamp tryout, converted to tight end and he impressed. He's put on the necessary weight. He's maintained his speed and quickness. He's made significant progress in that conversion. He's still a work-in-progress, but we just see a lot of upside with him."

On what Pace needs to see from Trubisky over the final six games to match the growth that was expected:
"I think Matt said it this week: The past two weeks he's made strides just with decision-making and conviction and really as an entire offense we want to be better; that's the quarterback, that's our run game, that's making contested catches. I think the entire offense has a great opportunity as we go forward and we expect to see growth."

On linebacker Roquan Smith recently playing as well as he did last season:
"I thought Roquan played his best game last week and it was awesome just to feel his energy and his production on the field. We're fortunate to have him on our team, the player and the man that he is."

On whether there's an opportunity this week to "unlock" outside linebacker Khalil Mack:
"I think there's a lot to that in regards to the opportunities. I think if he just stays the course, that's the best thing. This is nothing new for him. For example, you look at last week, I think there were six pass attempts against our defense in the first half. But with increased attention on him with that said, there are also opportunities for other players and we need those guys to step up."

On how outside linebacker Leonard Floyd has performed:
"He's doing a lot of good things that don't show up on the stat sheet. He's playing physical, he's playing with high-end effort, he's playing rugged. The production will naturally come."

On the outlook for defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to return from injured reserve in Week 15:
"I'm proud of our strength coaches and our trainers and with Akiem, the way he's working behind the scenes getting ready to go. We're really optimistic of where that's heading."

On Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones:
"He became the starter in Week 3, immediately won two games in a row. He's very competitive. He's very athletic. Especially for a guy with his height, he's really athletic. He shows good poise for a young quarterback, has all the arm talent to make all the throws. He's a really talented young quarterback."