The Chicago Bears sent eight representatives to Orlando to play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl, but one player who isn’t partaking in this weekend’s festivities is the one who might be the biggest reason the team is so well-represented in the first place.
So let’s take a moment to appreciate Khalil Mack at his best:
Mack won’t play in the Pro Bowl because he is resting up a knee injury. But don’t worry, it’s nothing serious and Mack will be back in full force once things get going in 2019.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Bears wouldn’t have won 12 games (let alone the NFC North) had GM Ryan Pace not pulled off the blockbuster trade to acquire Mack before the start of the season. Mack’s arrival transformed a top-10 defense into a group that crashed the top-5 and finished the regular season and the NFL’s top scoring defense. The combination of Mack’s pass-rushing prowess and play-making ability against the run made everyone around him better.
Back in 2017, John Fox raved about Mike Glennon’s ability to make his teammates better by saying, “I think he kind of raises all boats.” And while Fox’s assessment ultimately was proven wrong, at least we now know what it actually looks like when a player “raises all boats.” Make no mistake about it, Mack is that player.
Take a moment to think about Mack’s impact. The Bears had no Pro Bowl defenders last year. Mack comes around and two secondary members get in, a fellow member of the front seven gets the call, and two inside linebackers were named alternates. Elite pass-rushers allow for others in the front seven to make plays rushing the passer and cleaning up against the run and provides opportunities for defensive backs to make plays on the ball on hurried quarterbacks. It all works in unison, but none of it would work without Mack.
So many Mack memories, I can’t even put my finger on the favorite. So let’s leave you with every highlight the @ChicagoBears shared on their Twitter account last year. Hope you’ve cleared your schedule to savor every moment.