Khalil Mack has the look and sound of a man on a mission in 2020. Coaches and teammates around him have hinted at a man who’s practically living in the weight room. He’s putting in more time training that in his entire career. A regimen his positional coach has rarely seen in the NFL. Why would the pass rusher be so dedicated?
Perhaps because of guys like Adam Schein. The longtime analyst wasn’t bashful in his comments recently for NFL.com. He made a list of players who are under the most pressure to perform this season. Cam Newton, recently signed by New England, was #1. Sitting there at #2 was Mack.
The way Schein talked, it was almost to suggest that the Bears defensive stalwart is still good, but isn’t great. Somebody at risk of not earning the massive contract the team handed him back in 2018.
“But at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, did Mack make an impactful play last year? OK, five forced fumbles is a nice figure, but 8.5 sacks just doesn’t cut it. Honestly, I’m not really sure how he made a fifth consecutive Pro Bowl.
Two seasons into Mack’s Chicago tenure, the Bears have yet to win a playoff game. Obviously, this franchise’s most glaring issue is the quarterback position. But Mack is supposed to be a top-five defensive player. That’s why the Bears traded away a pair of first-rounders — and consequently handed out a record-setting extension — for his services. Last year, he was most definitely not elite.”
Khalil Mack is dying to shut guys like him up
They always talk about bulletin board material in the NFL and Mack has more than enough to light his fire. Yes, 8.5 sacks fall below the typical mark for him. However, anybody who watched the tape would know he could’ve easily had 12-13 if a few things had gone differently. It’s also worth pointing out he had 14 QB hits, just four fewer than 2018 and 45 totals pressures. Just two fewer than in 2018.
He was still a force that offenses had to constantly game plan to stop. Constant double and triple teams. To say nothing of the rumors he was playing hurt. Sacks may be the defining stat for his position, but they don’t tell the entire story. Mack is still a beast and the terrifying part about this coming season is he’ll have help. Akiem Hicks is back. Robert Quinn joins the fun fresh off 11.5 sacks last season.
Question him at your own risk.