Ted Monachino was hired as the new Chicago Bears outside linebackers coach because he has strong connections to Chuck Pagano. He was also hired because he’s really good at his job. The man has a strong reputation for molding and developing pass rushers. Time and again he’s shown a knack for getting the most out of his players. Several notable names have reached career-high sack totals under his watch including Terrell Suggs. So one can understand his excitement on inheriting Khalil Mack.
At age 28 Mack is around the same age Suggs was when Monachino began working with him in Baltimore in 2010. Their first year together, Suggs had 11 sacks. This after posting just 4.5 the year before and failing to reach double digits since 2004. A year later the Pro Bowler was named Defensive Players of the Year after posting a career-best 14 sacks. The crazy part of this is Mack is arguably even more talented than Suggs was.
He’s posted double-digit sacks in four-straight seasons including 12.5 last year. This despite a nagging ankle injury that knocked him out for two games. Monachino is aware that Mack is aiming to be the best to ever play. To do that, it’s his job to maximize his potential. A good way to do that?
Setting a goal, and the veteran coach may have revealed a big one during a conversation with Adam Jahns of The Athletic.
“It’s not just his prideful selfishness,” Monachino said. “That’s OK because if Khalil told me his goal was to have 24 sacks, wouldn’t that be good for all of us? That would be good for all of us. We’re not going to try to suppress that at all. We’re going to try to get him to that. If that’s what he wants, that’s what we’re going to try to get him to.”
Khalil Mack already predicted to conquer sack record
For those who aren’t steeped in NFL history too much, the league single-season sack record is 22.5 sacks. That was set by New York Giants icon Michael Strahan back in 2001. If Mack were to achieve this apparent new goal of 24 sacks, he will have broken the record by 1.5. Something that Peter Schrager of NFL Network already predicted would happen. So this isn’t some sort of outlandish idea. There is a serious belief Mack can get there.
The most sacks he’s ever had in a season were 15 during his own Defensive Player of the Year campaign in 2016. Back then though he was all but a one-man show, surrounded by a lot of mediocre on that Raiders defense. Such will not be the case in Chicago. He has Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman in the middle, Leonard Floyd on the opposite side, and a secondary headlined by two All-Pros (Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson) and two former 1st round picks (Prince Amukamara and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix).
Combine that with the naturally aggressive Pagano who will look for ways to use him creatively attacking the quarterback, the conditions couldn’t be more ideal for this to happen. It comes down to health and a bit of luck.