LAKE FOREST – One thing that he’d not done during his tenure in Chicago is try to put the blame on other things when it comes to times where the outside linebacker hasn’t performed the way he wanted.
Khalil Mack hasn’t been into excuses since he arrived in Chicago in a trade with the Raiders before the 2018 season, and that’s not going to change in 2021.
That was apparent in his first news conference at training camp, when he was asked about improving the Bears’ defense under new coordinator Sean Desai. Ranked in the Top Ten in the NFL in yardage and points allowed the previous three seasons, the Bears slipped to 11th in yards and 14th in scoring in 2020.
“For me, personally, I know I could have played better,” said Mack. “Ultimately, what I can control is what I can control, and that’s everybody’s approach to this season. What you can control is what you control. What you bring to the table, man, you’ve got to bring it all together and be what we know we can be, and that’s a great defense.
“Just talking about it is not something that I’m accustomed to. I’m an action guy. I can show you better than I can tell you.”
Mack is still able to show that as one of the best pass rushers in the game, though his sack numbers the last two seasons have been down from his impressive play in his first year of 2018. After getting 12 1/2 sacks that season, he dropped to 8 1/2 in 2019 then went back to nine in 2020.
His abilities continue to bring constant attention from defenses, resulting in multiple players blocking him on many plays. Problem is, Robert Quinn on the other side of the defense wasn’t able to bring the same pressure from the edge, netting only two sacks the entire 2020 season.
Getting both players rolling could reignite the unit that three years ago was the No. 1 in points allowed and in takeaways.
Like you’d expect, Mack was direct in his answer about what he and Quinn can do to get the pass rush going starting in September.
“Get to the damn quarterback,” said Mack. “That’s what we got paid to do; come here and effect the game by getting to the quarterback and create turnovers and short fields for this offense. Ultimately, that’s the goal. Of course, we’re not satisfied with the result last year, and there’s work to be done.
“Enough talking, I don’t do that.”