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They Said It

Baldinger sees Mack as NFL's top defensive player


Brian Baldinger knows a thing or two about what it takes to protect a quarterback. The current NFL Network analyst and former offensive lineman played 143 NFL games over an 11-year career.

On Tuesday morning, Baldinger tweeted out a video making it clear he would want nothing to do with Bears linebacker Khalil Mack. Baldinger broke down the tape on four Mack plays from the Bears' win over the Cardinals on Sunday and concluded there's no one better on the defensive side of the ball right now.

"Khalil Mack through three weeks is the hands down defensive MVP of this league," Baldinger says in the video before breaking apart the film.

Baldinger first examines Mack's first of two Sunday sacks. Late in the second quarter with the Cardinals already up 14-3 and threatening to score again, Mack penetrated the offensive line and brought Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford down for a sack. The play forced a fourth-and-long punt instead of a potential field goal.

"He splits this double-team right here and just ruins the Cardinals' chance," Baldinger notes on the play.

Next he analyzes Mack's fourth quarter sack of Bradford that forced a fumble that the Bears recovered.

"Watch this," Baldinger says. "This changed the game right here. On this sack-fumble, not only does he take [Cardinals running back Chase] Edmonds out of the play first, unselfishly, but then he takes Bradford down and is going to cause this fumble when the Cardinals are driving and Danny Trevathan recovers it. Two game-changing plays right there."

The third play the NFL Network analyst picks apart is one that showcases the intangibles Mack brings to the defense.

On a third-and-12 play, the Cardinals stack up three defenders against Mack, allowing another defender to go uncovered and get to Bradford.

"Watch what the Cardinals do to the defensive MVP of this league,". Baldinger explains. "This is what doesn't get put in any stat column. They put three players on Mack. There's three of them there. … When three guys go to Mack, somebody else has got to make the play, like Akiem Hicks, comes in here and takes down the quarterback, forces a fumble."

Finally he looks at a team sack that he attributes to Mack's ability to break through the offensive line. He noted that the Cardinals defense point toward him before the play to alert each other where he's lined up.

"You've got to know where he's at at all times, and it still doesn't matter," Baldinger says. "The Mack Attack right now is changing things around the league. The Bears can play, only going to get better. Khalil Mack, defensive MVP."

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