Khalil Mack is a star. He is a perennial Pro Bowler who performs at an All-Pro level on what seems to be an annual basis. But more than that, Mack is a gamer. As in, you know that — no matter the circumstance — Mack is going to suit up, play, and give whatever he has in the tank.
With all that being said, I shouldn’t concern myself too much with Mack being “limited” in every practice. Nor should I worry about him being “questionable” for game-day for the third consecutive week. But I am a human with real feelings. And because I am, seeing a player limited in practice and questionable to play is going to give me pause.
But let Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy explain why I should calm down:
“Each year that passes, you’ve gotta treat (players) a little different. We have some older vets on this team and you want to make sure you are taking acre of these guys so not only are they read on Sunday, but they are ready as you continue to hopefully get stronger and faster as the season goes on in the direction you want it to go. There’s a little bit of balance and trust with others that know how to handle these players’ bodies. But he’s been good with it.”
Alright, so Mack is on a load-management plan. That’s cool. It’s also important that Mack is “good with it.” That everyone is on board with the plan and executing it properly is important. As is having Mack healthy for a full season (and hopefully, a playoff run).
Mack turns 30 in February. And while all players age differently, the big 3-0 is a milestone number. Mack has been durable and impactful throughout his career. He has missed just two games due to an injury and has played on at least 86 percent of his team’s defensive snaps in every season except for 2018 (the one season he missed time due to injury). All things considered, it’s smart for the Bears to take a proactive approach toward ensuring his best player is at his absolute healthiest for games. Because while I’ll fall short of saying practice isn’t important, Mack has proven that it’s not something he desperately needs in order to be effective.
Even still … we’ll continue to monitor the situation closely. And I’ll even try to be less worried about his injury and practice report designations moving forward.
For more from Nagy, you can check out his Friday press briefing below: