Bears

Khalil Mack on Bears’ playoff tilt vs. Eagles: ‘You live for these type of games’

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USA Today

Khalil Mack on Bears’ playoff tilt vs. Eagles: ‘You live for these type of games’

Khalil Mack has only been to the playoffs once, losing to the Houston Texans two years ago while with the Oakland Raiders. That 27-14 loss came after quarterback Derek Carr suffered a season-ending injury a few weeks prior; Mack had 11 tackles but no sacks as Brock Osweiler led the Texans to a win in Houston. 

Mack said he learned a lot from that playoff game, but isn’t trying to connect the dots between a loss with the Raiders and the Bears’ upcoming wild card round tilt against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Soldier Field (3:40 p.m., NBC). 

“Different situation, different team,” Mack said. “Just looking forward to going out and getting this win and keeping our playoff hopes alive.”

Mack has played some of his best football for the Bears in the spotlight. Three of his four highest graded games by Pro Football Focus came on Sunday Night Football (at Green Bay, vs. Minnesota, vs. Los Angeles), with his disruptive play critical in those season-defining wins over the Vikings and Rams. The playoff spotlight will be greater, but it’s opportunities like the one the Bears have on Sunday that Mack relishes. 

“That’s what you live for,” Mack said. “You live for these types of moments. You live for these types of games.”

Mack finished his first year in Chicago with 12 1/2 sacks and six forced fumbles, impressive production that came in the face of two diminishing factors: First, that he didn’t participate in a single practice until Labor Day; and second, that his entire month of October was wiped out due to ineffective and rest following an ankle injury in Week 6. 

The Eagles know what Mack can do, and certainly will have a plan in place to try to slow him behind tackles Lane Johnson and Jason Peters. Mack relishes the challenge of competing against two of the league’s better tackles on a national stage, though, and knows he’ll be remembered for what he does in playoffs more than what he did in the regular season. 

“It’s going to be a great challenge for us, and we’re looking forward to it,” Mack said. “This is a dream, to be in these situations. 

“… It's all a part of your legacy. That's exactly what you want to be remembered for, being a champion.” 

NFL.com thinks that Matt Nagy is a very average head coach

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USA Today

NFL.com thinks that Matt Nagy is a very average head coach

NFL.com recently ranked all of the league's head coaches, because the football season may end but creating content never will. 

The top tier consists of all the usual suspects ... except for the guy that literally won the league's award for best coach last season

Matt Nagy came in at 14 on this list, and not even the highest-ranked NFC North coach. The reasoning is a tad suspect; here's what they had to say

Matt Nagy more than delivered in his first year as the Bears' head coach, taking Chicago to the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season. What's interesting about Nagy is that his side of the ball is offense, and prior to getting hired by the Bears, he was known for his work with quarterbacks in Kansas City. Yet, it was Vic Fangio's defense that did most of the heavy lifting to get Chicago to the playoffs. A head coach does much more than run one side of the ball, though. In fact, some of them don't do that at all. They run the office, in some respects. Nagy clearly set a tone in the building, so to speak, which should not be taken lightly. Nor should Nagy's work with Mitch Trubisky, who showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. Why is Reich ahead of Rivera but not Nagy? Well, Nagy has yet to achieve postseason success and had stronger personnel than Reich did in 2018.

Is this fair? Probably not! But is this important? Definitely not! Still - give your incumbent COY some more love, NFL. Club Dub! Yelling boom! The visors! 

Pro Football Focus: Bears have NFL’s best run defense entering 2019

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USA Today

Pro Football Focus: Bears have NFL’s best run defense entering 2019

Pro Football Focus doesn’t seem to expect much regression for the Bears defense, at least when it comes to run defense.

PFF analyst Mike Renner ranked every team’s ability to stop the ground game, heading into 2019, and Chicago remains on top.

The team retained its entire front seven, top-to-bottom, with the exception of Sam Acho, who spent most of last season on injured reserve anyway.

One of the biggest keys, in Renner’s analysis, is Akiem Hicks, who was among Pro Football Focus’ top performers in the running game.

“The former Saint is proving himself one of the best free agent additions in recent memory,” Renner wrote. “His 13.3 run-stop percentage was the second-highest figure of any interior defender in the NFL last season.”

The Bears allowed the fewest rushing yards and rushing touchdowns of any defense last season, and the 3.8 yards per attempt they gave up was fourth best.

With the whole gang back together for 2019, the team is in a great spot to run it back under Chuck Pagano.