Here’s a quick Public Service Announcement: take some time this fall to appreciate the greatness of Khalil Mack.
Watch a guy who is better at his job than everyone else. Understand that he can do things that some of the greatest players to ever play the sport can’t do.
Last year, Mack had, arguably, the greatest individual season in the history of the Chicago Bears. Take a quick glance at these numbers:
• 12.5 Sacks
• 47 Tackles
• 1 Pick 6
• 6 Forced Fumbles (2 Fumbles Recovered)
What is as scary as it is exciting is that 2018 wasn’t even the best year of his career. Digest these numbers when comparing last years stats to the DE/LB’s 2015 season:
Sacks: 15 12.5
Tackles: 77 47
QB Hits: 24 18
While both seasons are Hall of Fame worthy, these numbers show that it’s not entirely obnoxious to expect more from #52 in 2019. To take this a step further, note that Mack’s 2016 season, the one in which he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was probably his 3rd best season to date.
Barring injury, here are some tepid numbers you can expect from Khalil Mack in 2019. These projections are based on what can be deemed an average year for the 6th year pro from U-Buffalo:
- 1 Interception
- 1 TD
- 4 Passes Defended
- 3 Forced Fumbles
- 11 Sacks
- 70 Tackles
- 16 Tackles For Loss
- 21 QB Hits
As a point of comparison, NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald finished the 2018 campaign with the following numbers:
- 0 Interceptions
- o TDs
- 1 Pass Defended
- 4 Forced Fumbles
- 20.5 Sacks
- 59 Tackles
- 25 Tackles For Loss
- 41 QB Hits
In Mack, we are witnessing a guy who is everything your best player should be, and most importantly, a guy who makes the other 21 guys on offense and defense better. Continued dominance from Mack means that the expectations for Leonard Floyd have metastasized. When your stud is getting double teamed and chipped, the guy on the other end needs to take advantage of the lack of weak side help. Floyd should make a living off 1-on-1s and ultimately make the Bears decide if the $13.2M option for 2020 is worth it. After the first three years of his career, it’s hard to fathom that a $13.2M deal for Floyd is even being considered; but that is the type change Khalil Mack has brought to this defense.
In addition to making individual players better, Mack’s play make’s the entire offensive unit better. Giving the Bears offense a short field is exactly what a 3rd-tier offense needs. 3rd tier huh? Yes. You are what your stats say you are. The Bears were ranked 21st in total offense last year and Mitch Trubisky was, statistically, the 23rd best QB in the league last year. What these numbers tell us is that for the Bears to be great in 2019, Khalil Mack and Bears defense need to overcome what may be a subpar offense.
So again, appreciate Khalil Mack for exactly what he is – A generational game changer. Ultimately, and as crazy as it sounds, he is one of a few guys who will ultimately be responsible for how well this team plays on the offensive side of the football.