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Bears trying to get Mack up to speed for opener


Bears coach Matt Nagy said Sunday that he felt the likelihood of Khalil Mack playing in the season opener against the Packers was "hopefully pretty good."

After the star outside linebacker practiced with his new teammates for the first time Monday, Nagy discussed what he needs to see for Mack to get on the field in Green Bay.

"We want to be able to see some conditioning in the fact of where when he's out there, he's able to really give 100 percent of what he can do and that's going to be just communication between him, myself, [defensive coordinator] Vic [Fangio] and then our trainers just on a really day-to-day basis," Nagy said.

"There's not many days, so when I say day-to-day, we know time is of the essence. We've got to have a good, solid plan as to how we want to go about with his reps with that balance of [not] doing too much but yet pushing him to where we get him ready."

Monday marked the first time that Mack has practiced since last year. Before Saturday's blockbuster trade that sent him to the Bears, he had skipped the Raiders' offseason program, training camp and preseason games while seeking a contract extension.

"We're going to do everything we can to get him to a point to where he can play," Nagy said Sunday. "I know he's been working out, training, and you see the guy. It's not hard to tell he's been doing that. But we've got to be smart because the last thing you want to do is just throw him out there and then all of a sudden he's hurt and now you lose him for some time. That's what we don't want to do."

In Monday's practice, Mack flashed some of the pass-rush ability that enabled him to record 40.5 sacks over the last four seasons with the Raiders.

"Our right tackle, his second play he turned around and gave me 'the eyes,' one of those when he rushed him, so that's kind of good to see," Nagy said. "You know what that does, it helps make our guys better. On the offensive line, it makes them better as well."

Mack is doing everything in his power to be ready to play in Green Bay. Asked at his introductory press conference about learning the playbook, he joked: "That's why I can't be here for long. I got to go look. I got to go talk to the coaches and figure it out."

"From the second that I talked to him from when this thing became official and he was sitting on the runway on the plane, he immediately wanted a playbook," Nagy said. "And that's what he's done from the start. He's just in there with our coaches and trying to take it all in. It is learning a new language so how are we going to go about teaching that so he can play fast?"

Nagy conceded that with all the excitement the trade has generated, it would be difficult to hold Mack out of Sunday night's season opener.

"Yeah, I think it would be for sure," Nagy said. "Most of us know what he can do, and so it's the anticipation of being able to see it and then the happiness of knowing that he's doing it for your team. That's a good thing.

"So we'll see how it goes. But when he's out there, I can promise you this, when he's going he's going to give it everything he has, and we just have to figure out how much."