Jay Glazer sees big things on the horizon for Chicago Bears All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack. Glazer, who works for Fox Sports, is currently one of the NFL’s top insiders, and he recently shared his thoughts about Mack’s upcoming season in his weekly Q&A column for The Athletic.
When asked who will lead the league in tackles, sacks and/or interceptions in 2020, Glazer had just one name in mind: Khalil Mack. And while Glazer certainly doesn’t think Mack is going to lead the league in interceptions, what he did say about the Bears’ dominant pass rusher supports Mack showing up in a big way.
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Mack Had a Bit of a Down Year in 2020…or Did He?
When the Bears sent a slew of draft picks, including two first-round selections, to the Raiders in exchange for Mack in 2018, it was almost like he came out of the gate that season a man possessed. Mack made a legitimate run at league MVP his first season with the Bears, and he was a first-team All-Pro that year. His impact was felt immediately — his first game in a Bears uniform against the rival Packers will be remembered for years to come.
Mack ended up finishing the 2018 season with 12.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a pick-six in 14 games.
His numbers dropped slightly last year. He started all 16 games, but he had 8.5 sacks (the lowest total of his career since his rookie season), five forced fumbles, eight tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. While his stat line dipped, he also saw teams double and triple-teaming him more than previous years, and the entire defense took a hit when Akiem Hicks went down. Other teams also began scheming for him specifically; they rolled out more, got rid of the ball quicker — and after the Raiders saw success double and sometimes triple-teaming him Week 5, opponents continued to do this, taking full advantage of Hicks’ absence.
Mack was also apparently dealing with neck and back injuries last year, but based on what his coaches are saying about the intensity he’s bringing to workouts and team meetings this offseason, those injuries — and his slightly disappointing 2019 season — are things of the past.
Jay Glazer on Khalil Mack: 2019 Will Motivate Him
Glazer seems to think that Mack will bounce back in a big way this year, using last season’s hiccup as a major motivation. Thus, when a fan asked Glazer who he thought would be leading the league in sacks, Mack seemed to be the only name on his mind:
“I don’t know but here’s who I think has the biggest bounce-back season: It’s Khalil Mack with the Bears. I think he’s going to be one of those guys who will use last year to motivate him. We saw what happened when he was motivated two years ago. I think Mack will have a strong bounce-back season.”
We did see what happened two years ago — and it was a sight to behold. Mack had a strip-sack in each of his first four games as a Bear and was only slightly slowed by an ankle injury Week 6. He missed the first and only two games of his career, and when he returned to the lineup, he had four sacks in his first two games back.
Glazer has been around for a long time, and he knows players and the league well. If he’s getting the vibe that Mack will be more motivated than ever, Bears fans have something to be excited about. Opposing quarterbacks, however, may as well start flinching now, because it looks like Mack may be coming full steam ahead.