Last week ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler published his ranking of the NFL’s top 10 edge rushers for the 2020 season after surveying more than 50 league executives, coaches, and players. He asked voters to give their top 10-15 players, and then they tabulated the results and “ranked candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, interviews and research.”
Chicago Bears’ outside linebacker Khalil Mack ranked as the best edge rusher in the NFL, so you had to know he was going to find a prominent place on my Top 10 Most Important Bears list.
While some media members believe Mack’s impact on the game has slipped, execs, coaches, and players feel he’s still at the top of his game.
Take a peek at what some opposing coaches had to say about Mack.
“He can get home in every way — he can go through you or around you,” said one NFL defensive coordinator.
Added a defensive assistant coach: “Your game plan doesn’t matter with him.”
“He doesn’t get past the quarterback very often because he bends so well, has speed-to-power and finishes at the level of the quarterback,” a veteran defensive coach said. “And he’s relentless.”
When the Bears made the trade for Khalil Mack, they had to believe he was the final piece to what they felt was a championship caliber defense. And while Chicago’s D was a top 10 unit during both of his seasons, they’ve only gone 1 for 2 in postseason appearances so far and that has Mack, his teammates, and his coaches all wanting more.
“We want to be the best defense in the National Football League, and he (Mack) wants to be one of the best players in the National Football League,” says defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. “But more importantly, he just wants to win.”
Mack’s sack numbers may have been down last year, but he’s driven by more than individual accolades. It’s his desire to be great that has pushed him all offseason and that will push his teammates to match his intensity all season long.