Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox hold a season-ending joint press conference to discuss the Bears' 3-13 2016 season.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox hold a season-ending joint press conference to discuss the Bears’ 3-13 2016 season.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox spoke to the media and to Bears fans on Wednesday at a season-ending press conference to discuss their dismal, 3-13 season. The duo each gave an opening statement about the season and then fielded questions for about 40 minutes.

Ryan Pace’s opening statement

“Overall, our record this season is obviously disappointing. We’re all disappointed. We have higher standards; me personally, our coaches, our players, the entire building has higher standards. We’re currently analyzing the season, and what we must do to improve is already underway. The injury situation was an issue. It’s something we’re going to clearly be working on this offseason, however it’s not an excuse. And the silver lining is that it forced a lot of younger players to step up. And we like a lot of the way a lot of those younger players responded. We’re not going to sit here and hide behind our youth and injuries. We need to evaluate everything and we need to get better. John and his entire coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for keeping our team focused, tough, and prepared. Looking ahead this offseason, we have an opportunity to improve our team through free agency and the draft. Guys, we’ve got a lot of work to do and I know that. We’re going to take advantage of the position that we’re in. We’re Top 5 in cap space this year in free agency. With that comes major, major responsibility. We’re picking extremely high in every round. We’ve got to take advantage of that. There’s been significant change to our roster since we’ve arrived here; only 19 players on the team from the previous regime. The goal is to look for long-term solutions that lead to long-term success. It’s not a quick fix building a team the right way to get us on the right track long-term. That means drafting well and developing those players. Our goal is to keep adding young, talented players to this team our fan base can grow with and eventually win Super Bowl championships. I don’t think now’s the time to get into individual player contracts. I understand we have a lot of players coming out of contract and that’s going to be a priority for us and a lot of important decisions. Very soon, we’ll have personnel meetings with our coaches and scouts. We’ll break everything down, we’ll have a detailed offseason plan going forward from that meeting. Guys, we’re going to be aggressive and calculated this offseason. We’re in a position to do so. We’ll have a clear understanding of our roster and where our needs are and where we want to add to each position. I’m honestly extremely disappointed in this season. But I’m honestly excited going forward. My message to Bears fans is simple: We’re going to get better. We will improve. I hear you. But I also understand, this is just talk. This meeting’s just talk, and we’ve got to show actions, we’ve got to show results. I fully get that.”

John Fox’s opening statement

“Ryan did a good job there of surmising. Really on the season, obviously 3-13 is not acceptable. The buck stops here. I think there’s no doubt that coming off of 6-10, we had higher aspirations. It just didn’t happen. Looking hard at myself, all the coaches, everybody involved in football, there’s no doubt we have to get better. Our issue is consistency. It was playing four quarters. Sound, solid, technique, fundamental football for four quarters. Did we get close? Yes. Not consistency just in what we’re doing football-wise, but even with people. A lot has been made of the injuries, and it’s not so much about the injuries as it is it creates inconsistency. We’ll be better in that area, Ryan touched on that. It’s an area that we’re going to look at hard. It is a rough, tough game and things do happen, but everything starts with us and how we’re prepared. Some positives, and I think some of the positiveness moving forward, is the young talent. Jordan Howard, Cody Whitehair, Cam Meredith, Leonard Floyd, Nick Kwiatkoski. Guys that got opportunities to play, maybe because of injuries, maybe just because of changes in the roster. But even additional vets that we signed — Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, Josh Sitton, Akiem Hicks — along with veteran guys that we upped — Willie Young, Pernell McPhee, Zach Miller, Kyle Long — guys that did not have the consistency in games available to play. Again, that’s not an excuse, it’s reality, something that we have to look at hard in every phase, because again, the buck stops here. We’ve got great resources of currency, Ryan talked about. The only thing positive about 3-13 is draft order. We’re going to have good currency in the draft with the third pick throughout the draft, and we’re going to need to make good decisions in those areas. Time will tell, and like Ryan said, talk is cheap. But we do have good cap space where we can go evaluate and try to better our football team that way. Like I said on the injuries, just to touch on it again, a lot’s made, we’ve been here two years now, we’ve had some injuries in practice last year. We looked at the fields, the organization did a great job in creating a safe environment there. More of our injuries happened in games. We’re looking very hard in analyzing all that from start to finish of everything we do. Also to Bears fans, I can tell you this: This is foreign territory for me as well as a coach. And it is going to get better. We’ve got the best fans in the league. Even though it may not have been a full house, there were some late games there at the end, even though our record wasn’t great, they want a winner, they want it bad, and we’re here to deliver it to them. And I appreciate them, home and away. Some of the best fans on the planet. Much like you make promises, and again like Ryan says, you know, ‘show me’ — I spent a year in Missori and I understand — and I honestly feel the same about the fans, this won’t happen again.”

Ryan Pace and John Fox fielding questions

Ryan Pace, on the organization’s quarterback situation:
“I think it’s something we’re going to be looking at this offseason. I understand the importance of that position, the magnitude of that position. It’s a position we’re looking at, it’s a position we’re going to evaluate. Those meetings next week will be huge for that. That’s a critical, critical decision for me and this whole building.”

John Fox, on coaching changes:
“Our coordinators are intact. It’s too early to say (whether other coaching changes will be made).”

Ryan Pace, on what options the Bears have at the quarterback position:
“I think everything’s on the table right now. Free agency, trade, draft, current players on our team. Everything’s on the table, and we’ve got to analyze all that. The next two months are going to be huge for that and it’s critical that we get that right.”

Ryan Pace, on what he values at the quarterback position:
“We’re looking for consistency and productivity from the position, and we’ll find it this offseason.”

Ryan Pace, on his justification for bringing John Fox back:
“I get we’re all judged on wins and losses — I am, John is, the whole building is. And from Day 1, I said I want us to be a tough, smart, disciplined football team. And I definitely think we’re headed in that direction. I think some things happened this season that put major stress on the coaching staff and I get that. But for us to get better long term, I think of a couple different things: it’s developing our talent and it’s developing our culture, and I think we’re doing both of those things. I believe we’re headed in the right direction.”

John Fox, on why the Bears didn’t run the ball enough:
“Situational football, the situations of games, adjust that. We were Top 6 in yards per carry. We were 17th in the league in yards. I think when you’re behind, like in many games we were — too many games — that affects that. Just like in turnovers and takeaways, that affects that.”

Ryan Pace, on the importance of clarifying Cutler’s status sooner rather than later:
“Once we make a decision as an organization, whatever it is, he’ll be the first to know, and his agent, Bus Cook, will be the first to know. I gave him that promise. But those decisions haven’t been completely finalized yet. When they are, he’ll know immediately.”

Ryan Pace, on how Jay Cutler will prepare this offseason amidst uncertainty:
“He’s rehabbing right now. The one thing about Jay is, as far as his rehab, he’s almost a freak in regards to recovering from injuries fast. He’s significantly ahead of schedule, he’s rehabbing hard, and that’s encouraging.”

Ryan Pace, on evaluating Alshon Jeffery:
“He’s an extremely talented player who has high expectations for himself. I don’t think this season he really got into a rhythm that he would have liked to have gotten into. That was because of a lot of different quarterback play, and also, he missed four games. It’s hard for him to get into a rhythm and to showcase what he can do [because of quarterback play and missed time]. I think Alshon expects more. I think he’s a good player. That’s a big decision for us.”

Ryan Pace, on where the Bears are in the process of building a winner:
“There’s no quick overnight fix. There’s a lot of heavy lifting that’s going to take place. I look around the league and you see some teams that have older players, bad character. We’re the opposite of that. I feel like we’ve got a really good locker room with a lot of young guys that are “arrow up.” And it’s just us continuing to add to that. I think this year we had the most starts amongst rookies and second-year players. This offseason is huge. There’s a big responsibility, with that much cap space, this high in the draft, it’s a significant offseason for us and we’ve got to get going in that direction. I was pleased with this year’s draft class. It’s going to take three years to really get a full picture of it. But there’s a lot of good young players that are ascending, and we’ve just got to add to that group.”

Ryan Pace, on the injury issues and how to remedy them:
“I’ve been thinking about that constantly. I think the wrong thing to do is to put our heads in the sand and say, ‘Aw, man, it was bad luck. Maybe better luck next year.’ We’re not going to do that. We’re going to research and analyze, we have meetings set up, we’re going to look at other teams, other sports, everything. From the training room to the strength and conditioning room to what we do on the field to practice schedules, everything is going to be analyzed. Whenever you lead the league in something — or you’re close to leading the league — you better pay close attention. And there’s a lot of valuable assets that were on IR. I don’t want to make excuses for that, but I also want to understand the importance of getting that right.”

Ryan Pace, on whether it’s fair for Bears fans to expect Year 3 to produce a playoff team:
“There’s going to be a lot of important factors this offseason. A lot of it’s going to hinge on what we do this offseason and hinge on how much these players take the next step going forward. How much these young players grow, and I have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff that they will. In my meetings with the players this week, the common theme was a genuine, honest excitement of where we’re headed. That’s coming from them, and that’s from a lot of them. I know these are just words, and that’s why this press conference is difficult for me because, I get there’s a lot of skepticism. We won three games. But I’m here to tell you that we’re going to work hard this offseason, we’re going to get this thing going in the right direction, we have a lot of ammunition to do so.”

Ryan Pace, on the state of his 2015 draft class:
“It’s really availability, and unfortunately there’s been a couple things that sidelined them for different reasons. Even Jeremy Langford, high expectations for him, I think he’s going to be a good player. This ankle injury hobbled him early and affected him this season. Unfortunately with Kevin [White], two years in a row. He’s frustrated. He understands there’s that stigma on him. He’s out there to prove everybody wrong. He’s kind of got a chip on his shoulder. Eddie [Goldman]’s battled ankle injuries for a couple years in a row now. We’ve got to get that figured out. And there was an unfortunate injury to [Hroniss] Grasu. But he’s been working hard every day and I see him as a future leader for us.”

Ryan Pace, on expectations for Kevin White and if he can be the same player:
“He’s such a positive outlook guy. It was the same leg but it was two different injuries. I feel like he’s in a real good spot with that right now. Kevin’s wanting to go, go, go, go, but it’s like ‘slow down on this, let’s make sure we’re doing this right’. This is 100% recoverable.”

Ryan Pace, on his relationship with ownership:
“The relationship with ownership, and Ted [Phillips], and the whole building … our offices are all side by side by side, and I think if there’s one thing a season like this can do, it actually can bring you closer. The communication is happening all the time. There’s not a lot of formal meetings. There’s daily conversations that are taking place. I’m a firm believer in tough times, communication needs to be at an even greater height. They know exactly where we are, they know exactly where we’re going. I feel confidence in us and trust in what we’re doing, and trust in the plan. Again, it’s a results-based business and this season was not acceptable. I think if you look deeper into it and peel back some layers, there are some reasons to be optimistic, and again, a lot of it is going to hinge on what we do this offseason.”

Ryan Pace, on how his team’s performance against the Buccaneers characterized the team:
“That’s what I’m talking about this offseason, and John touched on this, we need to play well for four quarters, and we didn’t do that enough this year. There were too many lulls, too many moments where we’re turning the ball over and trying to play from behind and catch up. Where we are as an organization right now, we can’t beat ourselves. We’ve got to play smart, disciplined, efficient football and we’re not in a position to beat ourselves and those are things we’ve got to clean up.”

Ryan Pace, on the lack of takeaways:
“I looked at that and I think that’s obviously a major issue. I go back and I look at [defensive coordinator] Vic Fangio, where he’s been, and in San Francisco … he’s ranked very high in takeaways wherever he’s been. That’s his track record. Top 5 for a number of years in San Francisco. I honestly think we need to add more playmakers to our secondary. We need to add more ball skills to our secondary. That’s on me, and we’ll do that.”

John Fox, on inconsistencies in playing a full four quarters:
“When you’re changing players all the time, you get more inconsistent. You look around teams with success in the league, continuity is huge, in a season or, really, in an organization. Football is the ultimate of team games and when you’re rolling different people in there all the time … it makes it more difficult when you’re operating against somebody that’s been doing it for some time at a high level together. Our guys, character-wise, handled it as well as you possibly could. I’m talking about a locker room not splintering, sticking together. And we’ve got to be better. What’s encouraging to me is you go back a couple weeks ago and you’re playing a playoff team and you go toe to toe with them. Now, you find a way to lose. And when you’re young, you’ve got to learn to compete. Now we need to learn how to win. I’m excited about it going forward because of that.”

Ryan Pace, on if Hroniss Grasu’s healthy return would create a logjam in the middle of the offensive line, and if that meant a position switch to tackle for another player:
“That would be a good problem for us to have. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned this season, we can’t have enough depth, especially on your offensive line. Hroniss, I view him more as a center only. If he comes back, that’d be the position he’d be competing for. If Hroniss is playing like a solid NFL starting center and he gets to that level — which I think he can — that’s a good problem. And as you know, we have flexibility with some other guys. Cody Whitehair is a flexible player, that’s one of his best traits. And Kyle [Long] is, too. We’ll see how it shakes out. But if he’s back playing healthy at a starting level, that’ll all sort out, get the best five on the field.”

Ryan Pace, on why turnovers wasn’t a greater emphasis last offseason after secondary generated only four turnovers:
“When we re-signed Tracy Porter, I had high expectations that [Kyle] Fuller would be healthy this year. Tracy battled somethings this season, obviously Fuller wasn’t available, and [Bryce] Callahan was another player that we really had high expectations for and he was kind of in and out of the lineup. It’s a position that’s going to be a major need going forward and I just think we had too many injuries and bumps that kind of derailed that a little bit.”

Ryan Pace, on Kyle Fuller’s status with the team:
“I think he’s frustrated. I think we are too. We opened up that three-week window with the full expectation that by the end of that, he’d be ready to go. He’s trying to get stronger and he’s trying to do all the little things right. I’m not giving up on Kyle Fuller. He was a high draft pick by this organization and it’s on us to do everything we can to get him playing back at a top level. It’s a position of need for us and to get him back where he can play would be huge for this organization. He’s got to have an important, big offseason. He knows that.”

Ryan Pace, on why a knee scope kept Kyle Fuller out the entire season:
“I think there’s all kinds of things going on. He had a knee scope to clean up his knee. There’s a lot of things, too, where strengthening the areas around the knee, strengthening the small muscles around the knee. At his position especially, different than some other positions, you’ve got to have that twitch, and that suddenness, and that explosiveness. And he just didn’t feel like he had it, and we didn’t feel like he had it either. There’d be moments in practice, especially early on in practice, where he would look good and quick and I would go grab coach and be like, ‘Hey, Kyle looks good,’ and by the end of practice, he would fatigue a little bit. We’ve got to get him to a point where he’s strong enough where that fatigue doesn’t occur because that can’t happen in a game, obviously. I haven’t given up on him, we’re going to surround him with everything we need to do this offseason, and try to get him right.”

Ryan Pace, on what effect Alshon Jeffery’s PED suspension will have on his contract talks:
“It was hard, man. You miss four games of a critical season, at a critical point in your contract, it’s hard. But to get into the specifics of his contract and how it affected it, I don’t think now is the platform for that. Me and Alshon have honest, candid conversations and, him and his agent, we’ll talk through all that.”

Ryan Pace, on if he can still count on Danny Trevathan after the linebacker’s serious injury:
“He’s been communicating with some other guys in the league who have had a similar injury, who have come back from it and are currently playing at a high level. We’re optimistic, he’s optimistic. He’s working hard. Honestly, it could be a situation where he misses a lot of the offseason, the OTAs, and we get to camp and we’ve got to make an evaluation at that point: is he ready to go, is he a PUP guy? We’ll have to make that decision then. It’s an injury he can fully recover from, so I think we’ll be all right.”

Ryan Pace, on what his offseason plan is to get back to the playoffs in 2017:
“Right now, it starts with first analyzing our current roster. Your offseason plan is flawed if you don’t identify your roster and step back, take a deep breath, and really say, ‘Okay, where are our current needs at?’ Because I think there’s some flaws in that. You can sit here and make excuses for guys, but we’ve got to look at that with a real honest, open approach. We only won three games this year, and it’s not just because of the injuries. And then from there, we develop our needs. Then you determine, you’ve got to have a real good feel for free agency and the draft, and where they’re strong in different areas. Maybe this is an area we really want to attack in free agency because it’s deep there and I feel like there’s some capable players. Maybe there’s positions where we need to add a vet. We need vet experience at this position. There’s some real deep positions in the draft that I know. It’s still got to come together.”

Ryan Pace, on whether fixing the quarterback position is the number one priority:
“In my mind, there’s no more important position than the quarterback. It’s a critical, critical position. I know, and I recognize, that the decision that we make on that quarterback is going to be significant for all of us, for the direction this organization is going to head.”

Ryan Pace, on the value of the Senior Bowl weekend with John Fox coaching:
“We are never going to be in this position again, but we better take advantage of it while we’re here. We’re picking high in the draft, we better take advantage of that. We’re coaching the Senior Bowl. There’s a huge opportunity there. Our training staff, our equipment guys, our coaches, our scouts, our video guys. We’re down there the whole time. And I went over the list of guys with John the other night of all the players that were at the Senior Bowl. And there’s impact players, as you guys know. So, now, we’re not just having some fifteen-minute formal interview where they’re coached up. We’ve got them with our trainers, we’ve got them with our equipment guys, we’ve got them in environments where I can really tell what kind of people they are. And I think sometimes, it’s not just identifying who you like, it’s identifying who you need to eliminate. And I think that week’s going to give us a real great opportunity to do that. I’m excited about it. I’m fired up about it.”

John Fox, on coaching the Senior Bowl:
“I talked to Jason Garrett, they coached it last year. They had a quarterback [Dak Prescott] that I think they hit on late that did pretty good.”

Ryan Pace, on his comfortability that all of John Fox’s coaching staff are the right people for the jobs:
“Yeah, I’m comfortable with that. Obviously John and I have a tight, close relationship and we talk about staff all the time. It’s not just the coaching staff, it’s all the department heads in football ops. We’re talking about our scouts and we’re talking about our trainers, and every department in football ops. I’m confident in this coaching staff, I am. Of course, every year, win or lose, there’s some changes with position coaches and even some scouts. I think that happens. But I’m confident in his staff going forward.”

Ryan Pace, on the rumors of friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio:
“I think there was a lot of rumors and a lot of speculation this year. Guys, let’s just hit it all out. There was rumors of that, there was rumors of consultants, there was rumors of this or that. And you know what, I look at myself. When we win three games, rumors come. That’s part of it. And until we start winning more games around here, those rumors will go away. I think, if you’re tight internally, which we are, and sometimes those things make you tighter, then you just let it roll off your back. I think the mistake is to get consumed by it, or caught up in it. You know, I take a lot of pride in having the self-discipline to block that out and do your job.”

Ryan Pace, on the relationship between John Fox and Vic Fangio:
“It’s good. John’s a former defensive coordinator so there’s constant communication there. Their offices are side by side. You guys have been around football long enough. When you’re going through a tough season, of course there’s going to be debates that happen. It should happen. It happens in the draft room, it happens with coaches. But it’s a healthy, productive relationship.”

Ryan Pace, on the Bill Polian rumor and if the structure of the front office is changing:
“No, it’s not. The relationship that I have with ownership here is critical. Whenever you’re taking one of these opportunities, that’s one of the first things you ask yourself, is how is the relationship going to be? And I couldn’t ask for anything better. And Bears fans should know, ownership here gives us everything we need to do to win games. It’s on us to put together a roster to win those games. But as far as the communication between me and the ownership and Ted [Phillips] and everybody, it’s as close as it’s ever been. I think it helps eliminate those rumors very quickly when they come up.”

John Fox, on what he liked about offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains enough to retain him for 2017:
“At 3-13, I think we were 15th in the league — which is just slightly above average — on offense. Fifth per play, so we got explosive plays. We ran the ball efficiently. When you’re behind and trying to play catchup late in the games, those totals go down. If you look at the three games we won, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Number 24 [Jordan Howard] had 20 carries or more? Well, it’s because we had a lead in all three of those games. So sometimes they can read the wrong thing. Obviously, we didn’t score enough points. Turnovers are big on that. Minus-20 in the turnover ratio is definitely not a formula for success, and that’s twofold. Actually threefold, you can put special teams in there as well. From design, to starting with three quarterbacks, with the rotation of receivers, the inconsistencies in personnel we had throughout that and still do that, I think is a positive sign. Are we there yet? No. But I don’t think it’s play calling and design that are issues. It’s just being able to remain consistent in our performance and with that comes a lot of different stuff.”

Ryan Pace, on if Pernell McPhee is the player he expected and if there is any cost-efficiency issues involved:
“There might not be a player that I’m more proud of than Pernell. The way he’s responded from this injury and the changes that he’s made, not just in the building, but out of the building with his diet and his weight and his work ethic. He’s one of the top leaders on this team and people follow his attitude and his physicality. I think he was getting healthier and healthier as the season went on. I can think of practices late in the season when we were in the indoor and I see him coming around the corner and bend the corner with speed. ‘Hey, that’s the Pernell that I’m used to seeing.’ Unfortunately, the shoulder injury, pursuing to the ball, injured his shoulder and he’s going to have to overcome that. Pernell is a professional. Pernell is a leader. I do think that he’s just going to get healthier and healthier. To answer your question, he is worth the investment and I hope to see more of that next year.”

Ryan Pace, on Leonard Floyd:
“I think the sky is the limit for Leonard Floyd. His athleticism, his quickness, he’s a hundred miles an hour to the ball every single play. He’s refining his technique as a pass rusher, his hand use, and that’s going to continue to get better. But he has some special things that we saw in the draft that you can’t coach. He’s the right kind of person, too. He’s highly intelligent, so we can move him around. The injuries, really the concussions, he has no history of concussions prior to this. No history of concussions at Georgia. So, yeah, having two concussions late in the year, we’re going to be smart about that. He really needs to learn to play with better technique in regards to keeping his head up, especially when you’re running into Akiem Hicks. It’s not a good thing. We’re going to take care of that. He’ll be an impact player for us going forward.”

Ryan Pace, on Alshon Jeffery guaranteeing the Bears win the Super Bowl in 2017:
“When he said that, somebody texted me that. I like that he said that. That shows, an important player on this team, how he feels about this team, and how he feels about this locker room. When I talked to the players Monday, that was the common theme. You’ve done enough where you can tell there’s a genuine excitement about this locker room and a kind of closeness of this team.”

John Fox, on clock management and whether it’s purely his decision on game day:
“No, we have a system of it. There’s coaches in the box. I can’t tell you exactly what you’re referring to. But we have people assigned upstairs that that’s all they do, whether it’s going for two, whether it’s clock management, use of timeouts as it relates to that.”

Ryan Pace, on how he values draft picks compared to NFL veterans ready to play now, as it pertains to potential trades:
“There’s a balance. Right now, kind of evaluating what’s in the draft at certain positions and how close are those guys ready to play versus, okay, if you’re going to trade for a guy, where is he at in his career? Is there upside ahead of him? Is this just a stopgap player? What’s the demand and the asking price for some of these trades, and that depends on the market. Every year that changes. There’s about fifty different scenarios that can take place with all those things and we have to make sure as we are looking at those that we have our scenarios in the right order.”

Ryan Pace, on young players who did not make an impact in 2016 but have bright futures:
“[Jonathan] Bullard came from a defense at Florida that’s a little bit different than what we do here, so there’s a transition going on for him right now. His best attributes are his get-off, and his athleticism and getting up the field. So, learning how to come off and strike blocks and use your hands and shed, those are things he’s been working on. What I really like about Bullard is, you always want players that are very self-aware. They know kind of what they are and what they need to improve upon, and Bullard is one of those guys. He knows he needs to have a good offseason — he needs to get stronger, he needs to add weight — but he has some things that we can’t coach — and that’s the quickness and the get-off and the burst. I think he’s an instinctive player, too. I still have high hopes for Bullard. It’s only been one year, he’s a young player. [Deon] Bush has a lot of range, a lot of athleticism. Needs to make more plays on the ball. Just getting comfortable back there with your angles, and your read and reaction times and your instincts — that’ll come. A lot of these guys are young players and some of them grow at different levels. It’s a good draft class. Obviously they all have different attributes. It’s a real tight-knit draft class. They’re always together and I’m excited about it. We won’t know until three years. But I think there’s a lot of potential in that draft class.”

Ryan Pace, on whether drafting a developmental quarterback will make it difficult for the Bears to win now:
“It’s a case-by-case basis. If you get a young quarterback, is he ready to play right now? Maybe he isn’t. Maybe you need a bridge quarterback to help out that transition. But we’re going to be able to run the ball effectively, we need to play better defense, there’s a lot of complementary things we can do to help that position.”

Ryan Pace, on his promise to Bears fans and whether he expects to be back next year if the Bears struggle again:
“My promise to Bears fans — and I really mean this — is there’s not a moment that goes by that we’re both not consumed with getting this right. This is unacceptable. It’s painful to deal with. I get it. We’re going to get better. There’s a lot of young players that are going to improve. There’s a lot of players coming back that are going to help us. There’s a lot of things we can do this offseason to make us better. I knew this wasn’t an overnight fix. You’ve got to be careful with that sometimes. Sometimes there’s a little bit of a panic. And then you start reaching for bad character guys or big contracts on wrong players. We’ve got to be calculated and measured while we’re going through this, and we will be. Patience is hard, I get that. We’ve got to prove it on the field.”