Bears

Mack won't use injuries as excuse: 'I know can play better'

Bears

Statistically, Chicago Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack has had two below average seasons in 2019 and 2020.

After debuting in 2018 with a bang, notching 12.5 sacks and six forced fumbles and an interception, his numbers haven't been up to the lofty standards the former Defensive Player of the Year has set, which is more about how good he is.

He still got close to double digit sacks in 2019 and 2020, and has eight forced fumbles over the past two seasons.

Part of his regression are injuries Mack played through. In 2020 alone, Mack dealt with ankle, knee, back and shoulder injuries.

"When I'm out there I'm 100 percent. I'm not blaming anything on anything," Mack told reporters on Wednesday.

Mack added: "I know I can play better. I'm an action guy. I'm not going to say s**t. I'll show you better than I can tell you."

When asked about Mack's declining pressure rate on Tuesday, Bears head coach Matt Nagy pointed to the attention Mack draws from offensive schemes week in and week out.

"Let’s also remember this, every coach that I talk to that goes up against Khalil Mack, they have a plan, and two and three plans for him in every game," Nagy said. "So we also know that and I think for us, we have to know that and start scheming him and just kind of finding that happy, happy medium between the two to get more success.”

 

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks missing time due to his own injuries and Eddie Goldman opting out of the season during the pandemic didn't do Mack any favors drawing attention away to help spring Mack free.

The Bears signed Robert Quinn to be a pass rusher on the opposite side of the line and by his own admission, 2020 was "a bad year."

Fortunately, Goldman has reported to camp and will play this season and Hicks is healthy. If Quinn can get back to form, those elements alone should help Mack have a bounce back season.

"Some of the pieces that we’ve added will help him, too,” general manager Ryan Pace said on Tuesday. "As we add talent to that defense, it’s going to help us be creative with him."

Despite all that, PFF still ranked Mack the sixth-best player in the NFL last year. And Madden gave him the second-highest rating of any pass rusher.

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