clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

From Roquan Smith to Kevin White: Five Q&A highlights from Bears GM Ryan Pace

Bears general manager Ryan Pace will address the media in a press conference at Halas Hall on Monday. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

From injured starters to first-round picks playing catch-up, there is plenty happening right now for the Bears in the preseason.

On Thursday, general manager Ryan Pace sat down for a long conversation with the Hoge & Jahns Podcast. Here are five highlights:

Roquan Smith

The Bears didn’t like that Smith’s contract dispute went 29 days, but they maintained a long-term focus during a short-term situation.

“In this case, this one can be a complicated,” Pace said. “It’s not always just this specific player. It’s about everything going forward, too.”

It involved considering what other teams do, new rules and new trends. It was thought that the Bears didn’t want to set a precedent with Smith’s contract, but the final product proved that they were flexible.

A compromise was reached regarding contract language pertaining to the NFL’s new helmet rule and suspensions for on-the-field actions not related to football plays.

“You’re mindful of guys on your team now and the contracts that they’re under, and then players going forward and what you’re doing,” Pace said. “There’s also understanding that trends change in the league, too. Things change. The landscape can change.”

Roquan Smith Part 2

Going forward, the Bears are taking a safer-than-sorry approach with Smith as he readies himself for Week 1 against the Packers. He tweaked his hamstring this week.

“We knew when he came in, talking to our sports science staff, [that] we’re going to be smart with this,” Pace said. “If there is any tightness or if there is anything, let’s just be really smart with how we acclimate him in.”

In an ideal world, would Smith get live snaps in the preseason?

“We just want him to be at his first very best for the regular season,” said Pace, who has been impressed with how well Smith has grasped the defensive scheme.

Leonard Floyd

The Bears aren’t overly concerned about the broken bones in the right hand of outside linebacker Leonard Floyd.

“In a lot of ways, we’re fortunate,” Pace said.

Pace used Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry as an example. He broke two fingers in his left hand last season, missed two games and returned with his hand as a club.

“I don’t feel like this is going to be a cast or a club that he is going to have to have on his hand for long,” Pace said. “Due to the circumstances, it happening a little bit earlier in the preseason, we’re going to be OK.”

Adam Shaheen

Pace expressed more concern for tight end Adam Shaheen, who suffered right ankle and foot sprains against the Broncos.

RELATED

At long last, Bears OLB Aaron Lynch takes first big step on comeback trail

Comparing Matt Nagy’s two QB mentees: Patrick Mahomes and Mitch Trubisky

What frustrates Pace is that Shaheen appeared to be on the verge of breaking out, starting with two strong practices with the Broncos.

“We knew when we drafted him from Ashland that there was going to be upside with the player,” Pace said. “You feel that coming on right now with him, just his confidence. He fits very well in this offense.”

Dion Sims, Ben Braunecker and Daniel Brown will have to do more now.

“That’s a deep room for us,” Pace said. “And I think you see that every day in practice with those guys.”

Kevin White

One of the most pressing questions that Pace is facing is figuring out where receiver Kevin White fits. He expects him to play plenty against Chiefs after being on the field for 43 snaps in Denver.

“The bottom line for Kevin is he’s just got to stay healthy and keep on stacking good practices,” Pace said. “And now you add him to that receiver corps, the tight ends and the running backs, he’s just another weapon for our offense to use.”

Consider that a vote of confidence. Pace said he’s seen the traits that made White a first-round pick re-emerge.

“You can tell when a player is playing with confidence and not thinking too much,” he said.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns and WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge have co-hosted a Bears podcast since the 2015 season. The “Hoge & Jahns Podcast” can be found on chicago.suntimes.com and wgnradio.com. It’s also available on the WGN Radio app, iTunes and the TuneIn app.