A conversation with Bears right tackle Bobby Massie about Khalil Mack


A conversation with Bears right tackle Bobby Massie about Khalil Mack

To get a sense of how the Khalil Mack trade went over in the Bears' locker room and what kind of player Ryan Pace acquired, I sat down with right tackle Bobby Massie for some insight. Our conversation can also be heard on this week's Under Center Podcast. Enjoy:

JJ: What was your reaction when you found out Saturday?

Massie: What was your reaction? I probably had the same reaction you did. 

JJ: I rolled over to my wife and said “holy s***.”

Massie: Yeah. I wasn’t expecting that. 

JJ: How did you find out?

Massie: Text messages through friends and other teammates. That’s how I found out. 

JJ: Could you even believe that a guy like Khalil Mack was available and then that your team got him?

Massie: I mean, I knew everything that you knew up to the point that we signed him. I knew the Raiders were looking to do something with him. I was surprised that we got him but it was a good thing that we did. We already had a great defense and then him coming in just made them even better. I mean, yeah (laughs), I think that’s pretty much it. 

JJ: What kind of message does it send to the locker room that Ryan Pace was willing to trade two first-round picks to get him?

Massie: We’re trying to make a push this year. Like I said, our defense is already great and we have a lot of guys that can get home on the front seven and just adding him it going to free up everybody else because you can’t block everybody. And with our secondary being lock-down as it is, the quarterback can only hold on to the ball so long before he’s going to get hit. I mean, it’s great, the organization they know what this team’s capable of and to add another piece of the puzzle, it just helps solidify this. 

JJ: Forgive me for not knowing this, but did you ever go against Mack?

Massie: I’ve never personally played against him.

JJ: When you are facing an elite edge guy like that, though, the amount of resources it takes to commit to him in a gameplan, whether it’s a tackle, a tight end, a running back/a tackle, a guard, a tight end, what does that do for an offensive gameplan when you have to commit so much to stopping one guy?

Massie: It changes the gameplan because you gotta get four sets of hands on him, if not more. You have to gameplan for him. I highlight the Super Bowl, you see what happens if you don’t gameplan with Von Miller. He can single-handedly wreck a whole game. The smart thing to do is to put extra guys out there for him. 

JJ: So let’s say he’s on the left and you put extra guys on him, and now you’re on the right — hypothetically, you’re the right tackle for the Packers and you now have Leonard Floyd coming at you one-on-on. 

Massie: You gotta nut up, man. You gotta nut up. Because you got extra guys over there helping to block one guy, the other four guys gotta nut up and just get it done. 

JJ: Can you imagine, too, with you guys, if you line up Mack and Hicks on the same side of the ball?

Massie: That’s a dangerous side. That’s a dangerous side of the line. But it’s going to be fun to watch this year. It’s going to be fun to watch. 

JJ: You’ve seen these defense from last year, growing now into training camp this year, you said guys are starting to hit home a little more even this training camp. So this defense already seemed to be on the path to being better than it was last year. So what did you see from Floyd, Hicks, these guys in terms of their ability to get to the quarterback before Khalil even came in here?

Massie: They’re just worked in the offseason, man. They got a nice arsenal of moves, guys got quicker, stronger and they just worked at their craft in the offseason. It’s not just those two guys. I mean, we got at least four guys on the edge that can get home and three on the interior that can get there too. These guys, they put the work in the offseason and it showed. 

JJ: I don’t know how much highlights you’ve watched of Khalil, but watching him kind of briefly his hand play seems incredible. Just his ability to use his hands — as a tackle, when you have a guy who can do certain things to gain that leverage with his hands, what’s sort of the counter to that?

Massie: I mean, your hands and your feet gotta be exact, just as precise as his. I can sit here and try to break down how to block him, but at the end of the day, once you get hit in the mouth, all that s*** goes out the window. Just try to keep him on your outside shoulder and — I don’t know. I haven’t played against him, so I can’t tell you how to block him. Yeah. 

JJ: Awfully nice to have him on your side, then?

Massie: Yeah, it’s good that he’s on our team. It’s very good. 

Kindle Vildor dubbed Bears' rookie who could be surprise gem in 2020

Kindle Vildor dubbed Bears' rookie who could be surprise gem in 2020

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace has a good eye for talent in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. He nailed picks like Eddie Jackson (fourth round), Jordan Howard (fifth round) and Adrian Amos (fifth round) over the years, and the hope is that one of his Day 3 picks in 2020 will continue that trend.

One player who has a chance to exceed his draft slot is Georgia Southern cornerback, Kindle Vildor, who Pace selected in the fifth round of April's draft. He was recently named the Bears' rookie who could be a surprise gem in 2020.

"We stress confidence when we talk about the corner position," general manager Ryan Pace told reporters. "And [Vildor] definitely has that confidence and that playing demeanor that we look for. A skill set that also translates well to special teams, which is going to be important especially in the early part of his development."

The two-time first-team All-Sun Belt performer will have to beat out a few veterans for reps, but his man-coverage and ball skills should fit favorably in the Bears' defensive scheme.

While most of the post-draft attention has been paid to another Bears rookie cornerback, second-round pick Jaylon Johnson, Vildor has a chance to earn significant playing time as a rookie. Only Kyle Fuller is assured a starting job at this point, and while Vildor faces an uphill battle to unseat Buster Skrine for reps, there's no reason to bet against him. Pace has always been a proponent of competition breeding the best results and if Vildor rises to the occasion, the Bears will waste little time inserting him into the lineup.

Vildor ended his college career with 94 tackles, nine interceptions and 25 passes defended.

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    NFL, players union agree on 5 year extension for 'Madden' video game

    NFL, players union agree on 5 year extension for 'Madden' video game

    Good news, Madden fans: you can officially continue spending $80 to complain about how the game hasn't been good in years. 

    According to Darren Rovell, the NFL and EA Sports have agreed to a 5-year extension: 

    Rovell says his sources have told him that, 'the deal is worth at least $1 billion to the NFL and $500 million to the players. The deal also includes at least $500 million in marketing commitments over the years.' 

    Congrats to everyone involved! Now more than ever, football fans need some good news. There's no tradition as timeless as throwing controllers through TVs and against walls when your friend runs four verticals with a Y skinny post over and over and over again. Madden exists solely to allow people cover to yell at the TV without the presence of, like, a real reason. What would we do without it?