Khalil Mack has been a dominant force on the Chicago Bears defense, and he’s making everyone around him better
For four seasons Raiders Nation has been treated to the unbelievable defensive ability of Khalil Mack. That came to a screeching halt when new/old Raiders head coach Jon Gruden dealt Mack to the Chicago Bears for a pair of first round selections.
Across the nation, Bears fans everywhere have been jumping for joy since the acquisition of the LB/DE hybrid. Mack enters his fifth NFL season, ready to wreak havoc on NFC quarterbacks, of which he has already begun to accomplish in this early season campaign.
Mack, a former Defensive Player of the Year, has made an impact on the Chicago defense over his first two games. Let’s break down exactly how Mack has improved Da Bears defense, in such a small window, and also what we should expect this season.
Week one: Mack did get playing time, but also sat for many reps due to the fact that he never attended training camp, offseason team workouts, or played a single snap during the preseason. However, even with those limited snaps, Mack still managed a strip sack, multiple tackles, and a pick six.
Week Two: Mack again played on limited snaps, but saw more time on the field than he had the previous week against Green Bay. Mack finished the game once again with a strip sack and multiple tackles. With Mack in-house, the Bears lead the league with 10 sacks, four at Green Bay and six last night versus Seattle.
So what kind of impact does Khalil Mack exactly have on this already underrated defense?
Upgraded pass rush, on an already stout defensive front: Mack comes in to help Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, and Jonathan Bullard on the defensive line. Mack’s presence is causing the pocket to collapse on the right side, giving the opposing quarterback no time whatsoever to find an open man.
Smart tackler: Mack is stellar at shedding blocks, gaining speed and momentum, and does not stop until he hears the whistle. Last week in the loss at Green Bay, Mack made moves off the tackle to stop the running back multiple times, along with nearly catching up to Randall Cobb, who cashed in for a fifty plus yard touchdown catch and run.
Forces quarterbacks mistakes: Evident in both games this season, Mack’s presence on the edge rush is forcing quarterbacks to make poor decisions, such as scrambling outside the pocket for extra time or trying to force a throw into double coverage.
Exhibit A: Mack’s pick six against Green Bay
Exhibit B: Amukamara’s pick six against Seattle.
Mack comes into a linebacker unit containing players like Danny Trevathan, Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch, and Roquan Smith. Adding Mack to the mix only gives ball carriers more nightmares.
We’re only headed into the third week f the 2018 NFL season, and it appears Mack is poised to take home Defensive Player of the Year nods once again.
Yes, it is early in the season, but with an already up and coming Bears defense working alongside him, expect Mack and Co. to destroy the opposing team’s offensive units for the duration of the season.