Myles Garrett

Why Khalil Mack was in 'disbelief' watching Myles Garrett-Mason Rudolph incident

Why Khalil Mack was in 'disbelief' watching Myles Garrett-Mason Rudolph incident

Khalil Mack plays with emotion, but doesn’t let that emotion impact how he plays.

It’s how he compartmentalized his feelings prior to and during the Bears’ Week 5 game against the Oakland Raiders, the team that traded him to Chicago just before the start of the 2018 season. It’s how he hasn’t shown any frustration with getting double- and triple-teamed over the last few weeks, in which he only has one sack since Akiem Hicks went on injured reserve. 

And it’s why he was able to provide an interesting perspective on the shocking incident involving Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett on Thursday night, which led to Garrett being suspended indefinitely by the NFL. 

“It was kind of like a disbelief moment,” Mack said of his reaction to Garrett hitting Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. “But ultimately it’s definitely something you don’t want to see transpire. 

“Football is an emotional game, right, but you have to know how to control those emotions. It was real crazy.”

It’s hard not to have an opinion on the Browns-Steelers melee. One Bears offensive lineman defended Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who received a three-game ban for kicking and punching Garrett after Rudolph was hit with his helmet (the gist of the defense: You have to be there to defend your quarterback). Other players took to social media to point out Rudolph’s role in instigating the brawl. 

While Garrett may not have started the fight, though, he escalated it to the point where it’ll be attached to his name for the rest of his career. 

“I learned a long time ago, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it,” Mack said. “And so, yeah. It’s one of those learning moments.” 

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Bears pass on Trubisky in ESPN's 2017 NFL re-draft

Bears pass on Trubisky in ESPN's 2017 NFL re-draft

It was the trade that sent shockwaves through the 2017 NFL draft. You remember the one: Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace jumped one spot from third pick to No. 2 overall to make sure he landed his guy, QB Mitchell Trubisky.

Pace was blasted for the trade. He became the butt of all post-draft jokes. According to media members and fans, the San Francisco 49ers fleeced the Bears.

Now five games into the third season since the trade, the returns are somewhat incomplete. Trubisky's growth and development under Matt Nagy in 2018 has hit a wall early in 2019; maybe it's more accurate to say Trubisky's been hit by a wall of defenders because of how poorly the offensive line has played. And in a results-oriented league, the narrative around the Trubisky pick is beginning to tilt toward the negative.

Take ESPN's recent 2017 re-draft, for example. In this do-over, the Bears keep the No. 3 pick after QBs Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson go first and second overall. Chicago, with the third pick, snub Trubisky and instead select DE Myles Garrett.

Taking Garrett here would have left the Bears without a quarterback for 2017, as they had moved on from Jay Cutler. But it's fair to ask whether the circumstances are any different with Trubisky on the roster. Garrett's arrival would have made the Bears less likely to trade for Mack, too, which would have left them better equipped moving forward to draft a quarterback in 2018 or even 2019 if needed.

With the benefit of hindsight, it's hard to argue with this approach. But if the Bears ended up with Garrett from the 2017 draft, they never would've traded for Khalil Mack. And if they hadn't acquired Mack, would their defense be as dominant even with Garrett rushing the passer? Maybe. But Mack is a generational talent. Garrett, while certainly an elite pass-rusher, needs to add a little more to his resume before he can be described the same way.

It's also really easy to pile on Trubisky right now. He'll forever be compared to Mahomes and Watson, which is inherently unfair considering Mahomes had the luxury of learning behind Alex Smith while under the tutelage of Andy Reid and Matt Nagy during his rookie season. He also didn't have to suffer through a season with Kendall Wright as his go-to-guy. Watson, like Mahomes, has been gifted an all-world talent at wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, and Will Fuller, when healthy, is no slouch.

Elite offensive coaches and top-tier talent at the skill positions will accelerate a quarterback's learning curve. Trubisky didn't have either of those assets in Year 1. As a result, he's at least a full season behind his classmates in his overall development.

It would be a lot fairer to Trubisky to run an exercise like this next year this time, when there will be no more excuses for the player Pace staked his reputation on.

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Revised mock draft: Why Deshaun Watson will only end up with Bears via trade

Revised mock draft: Why Deshaun Watson will only end up with Bears via trade

With Deshaun Watson believed to be outside of a Bears top three consisting of LSU safety Jamal Adams, Texas A&M Myles Garrett and linebacker/end Solomon Thomas, indications are growing that a trade down will be necessary for the Bears to select the Clemson quarterback in Thursday’s first round of the 2017 draft.

GM Ryan Pace said on Wednesday that the Bears have a core of three elite players from which they would select if they remained at the No. 3-overall spot in round one. Pace also strongly reiterated his firm belief in staying a course to land the best possible player, something that sounded vaguely like a caution against reaching for Watson, who is not rated on the absolute-value scale at the levels of Adams, Garrett or Thomas.

The Bears view Adams as a talent and personality that changes a locker-room culture that Pace already believes is trending sharply up anyway. Some internal opinions favor Thomas (assuming that Garrett goes No. 1 to Cleveland), preferring the pass rusher. But the revised mock draft here is that between Adams or Thomas going to the Bears, Adams becomes the choice, based only on the Bears’ dire need for an impact safety; not a strong “choice,” however, because John Fox and every defense-based coach will always want a potential top pass rusher.

Pace gave a hint of Bears thinking when he outlined the three-tiered structure being formulated at Halas Hall: the three elites, the supposed pool set for the eventuality of the Bears staying at No. 3; the mid-round “cloud,” pointing to the Bears planning for offers to trade down; and a late-round “cloud” that contemplated a surprise talent lasting deep into round one and the Bears moving up from early round two to strike.

Watson is believed to lie in that mid-first-round cluster the Bears have identified. The Cleveland Browns have initiated calls to other teams in the top eight seeking a trade up from No. 12; if the Bears become the Browns’ trade partner and take that No. 12 pick in addition to an additional two or three picks, Watson and his “cloud” come into play.