The arrival of Khalil Mack in September 2018 turned a good defense into a great one. And with a great defense leading the way, the 2018 Chicago Bears went from a team on the fringe that could maybe make a push for a postseason spot if everything fell their way to one good enough to wrestle the NFC North title away from their foes, open up a competitive window, and stake a claim to being Super Bowl contenders entering the 2019 season.
So with that in mind, Mack has no time for your regression-based nonsense: “Man, ain’t no thoughts on that,” Mack told reporters when confronted with the possibility the defense would take a step back after being the best in the league last season. “Defensively, a step in the right direction is to get better. So, whether we were No. 1 already, we want to stay No. 1.”
Regression is going to be a thing Bears fans hear a lot about in the coming year. And because it will be unavoidable, we might as well confront it here — even if it’s brief.
The Bears had a bunch of things go their way last year. A schedule that looked to be filled with challenges turned out to be one of the softer ones in the league. The injury bug that had been so unforgiving during John Fox’s time with the team didn’t gnaw at the team as ferociously as it did in the past. Matt Nagy proved not to be overmatched in his first year as a head coach. Vic Fangio proved the Bears defense posting a top-10 scoring and yardage defense isn’t a fluke.
HOWEVER, it’s not like the Bears lucked their way into 12 wins and a division title. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky took important steps forward in his development as a quarterback. Cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson earned first-team All-Pro honors, rewarding the team’s strong investments in their top-paid cornerback and second-year safety in the process. The highly touted rookie class received contributions from three players who were key starters, while veterans such as Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan put it all together in the final year of their respective rookie contracts. Oh, and that Khalil Mack fella was pretty darn dominant in his first year with the Bears.
None of this is to say regression isn’t real. It’s just that if Mack has no time for that silliness, then I don’t have time for it either.
Mack is a man of few words, but shared some expanded thoughts while meeting the assembled media at Halas Hall. You can check it out below: