ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –The focus this summer on the Bears has been the additions of Justin Fields and Andy Dalton and what they can do to improve the offense, but it’s just as important that the defense returns to being one of the best units in the NFL. The key to that could be Khalil Mack.
The defense has done a slow slide the last couple years from the third best unit in the NFL, to the eighth best and last year it slipped out of the top ten to 11th. Not coincidently Khalil Mack’s production has also slipped a bit.
“For me personally I know I can play better,” said Mack Wednesday after reporting to Halas Hall. “Ultimately what I can control is what I can control.”
The last two years Mack has failed to come up with double-digit sacks. He wants to get those numbers back up and harass quarterbacks to create more turnovers.
“From my standpoint that’s something I’ve got to do better. I’ve got to be able to get to the quarterback and get the ball out.”
In Mack’s defense he played a good chunk of last season with a shoulder injury, and former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano didn’t utilize Mack the same way that Vic Fangio did. Now with Fangio’s protege Sean Desai as the defensive coordinator that could change back for the better.
“He has some of those same qualities like Vic,” said Mack. “Just understanding the players’ strengths and understanding how the simpler, the better.”
Matt Nagy says the coaching staff can do more to help Mack become more productive.
“Making sure that we’ also help him out schematically. He’s going to get doubled and tripled. How do we help alleviate that with him so that when he does get singled he can have more chances to win?”
Mack is 30 years-old. The clock is ticking on his NFL career and on his chance to play in a Super Bowl. He knows it.
“You don’t get too many years in the NFL. I understand that now going into year eight and being in the playoffs maybe three times so far and losing in the first round every one of them you know what I’m saying? Time is of the essence.”