Khalil Mack training with a chip on his shoulder should terrify opposing quarterbacks

Khalil Mack with a chip on his shoulder? Good luck dealing with that!

Last year was not the year Khalil Mack or the Chicago Bears were expecting.

Even though Mack made his fifth-straight trip to the Pro Bowl, he had his lowest sack total since his rookie season with only 8.5. The three-time First-Team All-Pro and 2016 AP Defensive Player of the Year has averaged 10.25 sacks a season since going No. 5 overall to the then-Oakland Raiders back in 2014. You can say Mack is playing with a boulder on his shoulder this year.

“Motivation is not an issue with Khalil, never has been,” said Bears outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino. “But what I’ll tell you is that he has approached this offseason with something to prove, and that’s something that I think we all can be encouraged by. I think that that’s something that’s exciting when a player of his caliber approaches his work the way he has approached it.

“This is a special guy that has something to prove and has approached the last several months with a chip on his shoulder, and I think that’s good for everybody.”

If Mack’s position coach Ted Monachino is this excited about what’s in store for his best player, you better believe Mack’s defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is chomping at the bit to get out there and see what he’s got.

“We want to be the best defense in the National Football League, and he wants to be one of the best players in the National Football League,” said Pagano. “But more importantly, he just wants to win…You’ve got a really talented football player that’s really, really eager like the rest of them. To get back on the football field and compete and win and do it at a high level.”

Khalil Mack playing with a boulder on his shoulder is nightmare fuel.

During Mack’s last season with the Silver and Black, he said 30 sacks in a season was possible for him. Though Mack only got 10.5 sacks in his fourth and final year with the Raiders, if anybody was going to be able to achieve 30, it was going to be him. That’s the type of ferocious competitor Mack is, and he’s about to get after it in 2020.

Mack has several things working for him on the defensive side of things this year. It’s the second year Pagano has been leading the defense. Though Pagano is a great defensive mind, you could sense the transition between what he wanted to do and what the Bears had done under former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio previously.

Mack will get back a healthy Akiem Hicks in the trenches, who missed 11 games last year. But perhaps most importantly, the Bears seemed to have upgraded at its other high-profile pass-rushing spot. They let former first-round pick Leonard Floyd walk in free agency in favor of signing former St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys standout Robert Quinn. He had 10.5 sacks last year.

Next: 5 NFL players who cement their Hall of Fame legacy in 2020

So with greater schematic continuity, a healthy defensive tackle in front of him and a better pass-rushing partner opposite of him, Mack has no excuse for him to not have his best season in a Bears uniform to date. Though he may not get to 15 sacks as he did in 2015 with the Raiders, look for a charged-up Mack to approach and even surpass his 2018 total of 12.5 sacks in Chicago.

Here’s to 2020 being the Return of the Mack we’re all hoping for in Chicagoland.

Products You May Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *