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 Rams. The following is a transcript of that interview.
On loss to Giants last week:
"I think when you reflect back on that, we turned the ball over on the road, and really for the first time all season we lost the turnover battle, so despite that we still had ourselves in a position to win the game at the end. I think that speaks to the character of our team, but we know on the road, or really anytime, you can't turn the ball over like that or have those kinds of mistakes and expect to win."
On quarterback Mitchell Trubisky returning:
"I think in general we're looking for production from the entire offense, not just Mitch. There's really been steady growth throughout the season and again we've talked about this a lot, but a lot of new players playing together and getting comfortable in the scheme, and I think you're going to continue to see that progression."
On if team has encouraged Trubisky to adjust his style when running:
"You want your players to play with their instincts. You don't want them to play cautious, you want them to cut loose. And I think there's a lot of examples of quarterbacks around our league that utilize their athleticism to their advantage but don't take the unnecessary risk and Mitch understands that."
On past week of practice:
"Crisp week this week. Very efficient, both sides of the ball including the quarterback, and we're looking forward to this."
On running back Tarik Cohen:
"One of the things I really appreciate with Tarik, obviously the physical talent is there, but he's a very smart football player, and that's why we can move him all around and do different things with him. I know the coaches appreciate that, but I think that's something we don't talk about enough is his football IQ."
On if Rams game is the type of matchup you make trade for linebacker Khalil Mack for:
"I think really the trade for Mack is really more than just this type of game. I think it's a quarterback-driven league, and the best way to affect the quarterback is to hit the quarterback, and that's what Mack does."
"First off I have a ton respect for Les Snead their general manager and you pair him with [Rams coach] Sean McVay and they're in a great position. And really you watch their franchise and how they operate, they're not afraid to be aggressive and make moves. That's what they've done, especially the past two offseasons and you see it paying dividends."
On trying to emulate Rams formula for success:
"Again, I think you always look for the people you respect around the league, and I feel that way about Les, and you always look to franchises that are having success, and that exists on both fronts. And so, yeah, I think we look at them as a way to do things."
On if this is statement game:
"I definitely get that question, and I can feel it from a media perspective that kind of being blown up. But really, man, this point in a season, this phase of a season that we're in, all these games are critical, and I think the good part is everyone in our building understands that and that's why the focus is so locked in right now."
On Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald:
"I think he's clearly one of the more dominant players in the league, and you see it week-in and week-out, someone that's a legit contender for league MVP, that's real. You'd like to go back and everybody says four years after the fact, 'Oh that's exactly what I predicted.' And there's a lot of guys that do that in our league. But I think he's a dominant player, and hats off to what they're doing with him and how they use him. It's going to be a huge challenge for us."
On Rams quarterback Jared Goff and McVay's playcalling:
"Goff, obviously first pick in the draft, excellent arm talent, and you see him growing in the offense week after week after week, and you see his comfort level growing. And I think you take a player with that kind of talent, and then you pair him with a playcaller like Sean McVay and then that leads to a pretty dangerous combination that we have to defend tonight."
On Rams receiver Brandin Cooks:
"Obviously it's a player, when I was in New Orleans, that we drafted, so I know him well. He's one of the more explosive receivers in the NFL. Really he's been consistent wherever he's been. He's put up consistent production, but just from being with a guy first hand what really jumps out with him too beyond those things is his work ethic, his passion for the game. He loves football, and he's just an exciting player. He's a dynamic player, that again, we're going to have our hands full with him as well."