Matt Nagy says Khalil Mack is ‘on another level right now'


Khalil Mack is a generational talent. It didn't take long after he entered the NFL as the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft to figure that out.

His rookie season was his least productive, ending with just four sacks. He's been nothing short of remarkable since. In 2015, Mack recorded 15 sacks and kickstarted four straight years with double-digit sacks entering this season. He's a true game-wrecker, and the scary part? He's actually getting better.

"He’s on another level right now," Bears coach Matt Nagy said of Mack Thursday. "He affects every single play, doesn’t matter if he makes a play or not, he affects it. Every game I’ve watched this year already so far, he dominates. Whether it’s getting a holding call, or going after the football, there’s turnovers that are occurring, and he’s allowing other guys to play well too. There’s been zero drop-off, and it’s been an addition from last year to the way he’s playing."

Despite getting blanked in the sack column in Week 1 against the Packers, Mack's still on pace to finish the season with a career-best 16. His effort on the field is exceeded only by his effort off it, even if he's a pretty chill guy.

"Just chill… just chill… He’s just a chill dude," Nagy said. "He just does his thing, he leads by his actions, he’s the epitome of, he’s not a rah-rah guy, but he has fun, he’s focused, he finishes every single rep in practice, it doesn’t matter where the ball goes, if it’s a pass down the field 30 yards, he turns around and he runs. He does it every play. So that’s the practice part, I don’t see all these guys all the time in here when they’re in the building, I just know from what I do see that he’s pretty chill."

The Bears will need every bit of Mack's relentless style of play Sunday against the Vikings who feature an offense led by Dalvin Cook and the NFL's most impressive rushing attack. Expect a very conservative gameplan from Minnesota, whose quarterback said this week that incompletions against a defense featuring Mack aren't the worst thing in the world.

"I remember a play last year early in the game and Adam (Thielen) was coming on a shallow cross and I felt (Mack) around my back side and I realized if I take a full stroke here with my arm, he's going to get the ball," Cousins said. "So I short stroked it and missed the throw, but I walked off the field after that drive saying I'll miss that throw all day if it's just an incompletion and we punt. If he gets my arm and it's a fumble and now they're going in at the plus-20, that changes the game. Those are the moments when your instincts are telling you, 'He's right there, let's get the ball out of our hands' and if I miss the throw by a couple of feet so be it."

Mack is currently Chicago's highest-graded player (90.8) and the second-highest graded edge defender in the NFL, via Pro Football Focus. In Week 4's NFC North showdown, the Bears just need him to be himself.

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