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Bears defense gears up to face Russell Wilson


After battling arguably the NFL's best quarterback in the Packers' Aaron Rodgers in last Sunday night's season opener, it doesn't get any easier for the Bears defense in Week 2.

The Seahawks will visit Soldier Field Monday night led by quarterback Russell Wilson, a four-time Pro Bowler who led the league with 34 touchdown passes last season.

"No. 1, this guy's a good quarterback," said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. "He's got a big arm. He's accurate. He sees the field. Makes good decisions. And then you add in all his creativity and his elusiveness and you've got a hard guy to deal with. He's been a very productive and winning quarterback for them since he started."

Wilson's elite athleticism and mobility often obscures his ability as a pure passer.

"He has got a unique skill set, but I think what's lost with him a lot of times is this guy's a good quarterback," Fangio said. "If all of a sudden he became a 5.2 runner—meaning 5.2 in the 40—he'd still be a good quarterback. But then you add that in, that creativity and escapability, and the plays he makes that are improvised makes him a double threat."

In a 27-24 season-opening loss to the Broncos in Denver last Sunday, Wilson completed 19 of 33 passes for 297 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions and a 92.7 passer rating. He rushed for just five yards on two carries and was sacked six times in the game.

Mack attack: Fangio seemed impressed but not too surprised with Khalil Mack's monster performance in the Bears' season opener against the Packers.

Just eight days after being acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Raiders, the All-Pro outside linebacker returned an interception for a touchdown forced and recovered a fumble on a strip/sack and generated pressure on the quarterback that led to two sacks for his teammates.

Mack joined the Bears after not participating in Oakland's offseason program, training camp and preseason while seeking a long-term contract extension.

"Obviously, he's stepped in very well," Fangio said. "I think everybody likes to overanalyze things—how much can you play a guy that's come in like that, no training camp, no nothing, hasn't played since whenever his last game was last season. But I think with special guys you throw that stuff out the window. He's a special player. He did special things under special circumstances."

Confidence in rookie: Coach Matt Nagy said earlier this week that rookie linebacker Roquan Smith likely will be on the field more Monday night than the eight snaps he played against the Packers.

The first-round pick from Georgia participated in the Bears' offseason program, but he missed all of training camp and the preseason due to a contract holdout, and later, a hamstring injury.

"I have confidence in him, as far as being able to know what to do," Fangio said. "He was here in all the OTAs and the minicamps. I think it's 14or 16 practices. He did a good job of learning our system in that time, and then when he eventually got back.

"His situation was different than Khalil's last week in that he was still nursing an injury. Khalil was just fighting newness and not playing, so we were a little cautious on that [with Smith]."

Upward trend: Fangio has seen nose tackle Eddie Goldman make major strides since he was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Florida State.

Last Friday, Goldman signed a four-year contract extension through the 2022 season.

"When he first got here, he wasn't in shape," Fangio said. "He weighed more and he was struggling to learn what to do. Now, he's in great shape, got his body where it needs to be and he knows what to do. So it's been an upward trend with him and he's done a great job."