Mack Making Himself At Home With Bears

September 05, 2018 - 3:27 pm
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Since arriving in the Chicago area this past weekend, Khalil Mack has split his time either at the Bears' headquarters of Halas Hall or at a nearby hotel.

There was no time for house hunting on the Tuesday off day and hardly even a chance to buy some socks. Mack has been busy with Bears outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley getting himself ready for the regular season.

"You want to go out and actually make the impact," Mack said before practice Wednesday. "That's what I'm looking forward to doing."

The Bears' big acquisition in a trade with the Raiders, Mack arrived in Chicago on Saturday and checked into his hotel from there. He signed a six-year, $141-million deal on Sunday morning that set a record for a defensive player, held a press conference early in the afternoon and left to begin work. Mack has been busy ever since.

Before Mack can make himself at home with the Bears defense, the team first has to establish his conditioning level after he didnt' participate in the preseason as he held out from the Raiders. Practice on Wednesday would help the Bears gain a grasp for the work that Mack logged on his own in the past month. It remains to be seen how big of a role Mack can play against the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday night.

"You'll see on Sunday," Mack said. "Under the lights."

Should there be any doubts to Mack's conditioning level, the Bears are sure to take every precaution. That much has been clear over the last three weeks, as they've been cautious with rookie linebacker Roquan Smith after he experienced hamstring tightness a week after his arrival from a month-long contract impasse.

Mack believes he'll get acclimated with Vic Fangio's defense quickly in part because of similarities to the schemes in which he thrived in Oakland. Up north in Green Bay, the Packers are preparing for Mack to have a major role for the Bears -- even as soon as the opener.

"He's a matchup problem," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "So you're going to have to find ways to account for him in the passing game. He's a really talented guy.

"I think they're going to try to get him in there as much as possible."

Added Packers coach Mike McCarthy: "Really, I think he’s an excellent fit for Chicago’s defense."

Mack has never missed a game in four NFL seasons, recording 40.5 sacks in those 64 games. The Bears traded a haul that included two first-round picks with the belief he could transform the rest of their defense. 

Count fellow outside linebacker Leonard Floyd among those thrilled to have Mack joining the defense. Though Floyd will be limited by a club on his fractured right hand, he stands to benefit from an All-Pro pass rusher attracting the attention of the Packers' offense.

Even if he's just decoy during times Sunday night, Mack will be an important presence for the rest of the defense.

"They got to choose," Floyd said. "It's going to be somebody up front getting doubled and whoever ain't doubled has got to make plays."

Certainly it could take time for Mack to get entirely up to speed with his new team. There would've been an adjustment if he was still practicing with the Raiders this week, too, because a player misses a lot sitting out the preseason.

Mack will be a busy man working his way into the Bears' big plans. As for those plans to buy a house?

"I’m trying to get on the phone with my financial advisor to see what I can afford," he joked.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.