| The Official Website of the Chicago Bears

Mack a natural at getting to football


There are a lot of defensive players in the NFL who won't get their hands on as many footballs as Khalil Mack has in his first two games with the Bears.

The All-Pro outside linebacker has produced strip/sacks against both the Packers and Seahawks and an interception that he returned for a touchdown in Green Bay.

"I think a lot of that is natural instincts," said coach Matt Nagy. "You can try to teach it, but I think sometimes you have it or you don't."

Mack certainly has it. He showed it in the season opener when he wrestled the ball away from Packers backup quarterback DeShone Kizer and then picked off a short Kizer pass on the very next series, returning the interception 27 yards for a touchdown.

"He cuts angles down so well," Nagy said. "Once he hits around that edge, he's so athletic and has such a good feel for the pocket or the quarterback."

Mack produced another impressive play in Monday night's home opener against the Seahawks. While engaged with a blocker, he reached with one arm and slapped the ball out of quarterback Russell Wilson's right hand.

"You saw him just reach his arm out and just tap the ball," Nagy said. "You can see at times in practice he has to pull up on our scout quarterback, on Chase [Daniel], and so you see how quick he can get there."

Although some players have more of a knack to get the quarterback than others, they no doubt will benefit from watching Mack perform his magic.

"They're going to learn," Nagy said. "They get to witness this and watch tape. To be able to see Khalil out there every day in practice, with some of the moves that he shows, it's great for his peers to see that, and it's also good for some of our backup offensive linemen to see too. It's making them better."

Fellow outside linebacker Leonard Floyd was particularly impressed with Mack's strip/sack of Wilson.

"For us, just seeing it happen, you'll want to go out and do it yourself," Floyd said. "It definitely motivates the rest of the team to go out and make those types of plays."

Mack hopes that all of his teammates hone their ability to make plays on the ball.

"You definitely consciously work on that," he said. "That's something you want to preach throughout the whole defense—getting the ball back to the offense. Creating a short field is a great feeling, but it feels better when you can score it yourself."

With cornerback Prince Amukamara returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown against the Seahawks, the Bears have a pick-six in each of their first two games of a season for the first time since 1950.

Mack clearly isn't the only one on the Bears defense making impact plays. But there's no doubt that his arrival has energized an already-talented unit.

"He's a guy that came in and just fit right in with us," Floyd said. "He doesn't really say too much. He goes out and practices hard, and when he does talk, it's always positive, something uplifting to the team."