Analyzing what Bears general manager Ryan Pace said Monday in what likely was his last question-and-answer session until after the season:
He said: The kicker derby ‘worked out just right’
The Bears hoped to find a cheap option that they believed in. Eddy Pineiro gives them exactly that.
“The whole process that we went through, that was really the plan all along,” Pace said. “And the hope all along and the optimism all along is to hit on a young kicker that we can grow and develop. And we feel like we’ve done that. We’re very confident in him. And there was a lot of adversity built into that plan, you know, strategically so. And we think it worked out just right.”
No matter how the Bears got to this point, they know that the hard part is just beginning: They have to be patient.
Pace, coach Matt Nagy and special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor have all stressed this week that some of the league’s best kickers have gotten off to slow starts.
“Not that that’s our expectation,” Pace said. “We also understand sometimes you have to have patience with this position.
“He’s got the right demeanor, the right leg talent, the team has really embraced him and we’re happy with the way that whole process played out.”
He said: The Bears are ‘very happy’ with Mitch Trubisky
The quarterback didn’t throw a preseason pass, but Pace said he was “very happy” with his performance and “very proud with . . . the trajectory that he’s on.”
“Just his confidence, his knowledge in the offense, his ability to operate fast, see the field, process things, the command he has with the entire offense with his teammates,” Pace said. “You can just feel that, which is natural.”
Growth is inevitable in his second season under Nagy — “You can feel him operating faster, and I think that comes with knowledge and comfort in the offense, with the scheme and then also the players that he’s playing with,” Pace said — but Thursday is a big test for Trubisky.
His performance will be more than a one-week referendum on his development — it will be a justification for Nagy benching him all preseason. Or a refutation of it.
He said: The Bears’ cap situation is solid
Guard Cody Whitehair’s five-year extension came together in a few days before it was announced Sunday. The Bears like to reward their own players, Pace said. It’s the fourth consecutive season they’ve given out an extension in September before the season opener.
Pace is comfortable with the Bears’ salary-cap situation, citing the work done by negotiator Joey Laine.
“Joey does a great job forecasting, thinking ahead, thinking about the future, extensions on the horizon, what we want to do in future years,” Pace said. “So we’re in a good place.”
While Bears players have been helpful this offseason — Khalil Mack, Charles Leno and Kyle Long all reworked their deals — the team won’t always be able to pay everybody.
The Bears figure to pay safety Eddie Jackson and running back Tarik Cohen — and maybe even Trubisky — by this time next year. The cap might squeeze inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and cornerback Prince Amukamara, whose contracts expire at the end of the year.