Joniak's Journal: Khalil Mack Impressed By Bears' Focus

"Staying hungry" is a motto for the Bears after a 3-1 start.

Jeff Joniak
October 10, 2018 - 2:29 pm
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LAKE FOREST (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears (3-1) were back to work Wednesday at Halas Hall as they prepare to face the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday. Here are the notes and observations from the day.

First impression

Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack is a superstar and a key figure on a first-place team. His arrival in Chicago has been a perfect storm for attention from hungry and avid Bears fans.  

"It’s everywhere," Mack said. "It doesn’t matter where I’m at. It could be a mother of two, and she’ll be a fan and it’s like random as hell to me."

It might take some getting used to for Mack, who was a recognizable figure in Oakland. As we know, Chicago treats its stars a little differently. 

"You feel that and it’s another reason you want to go out and make them proud," Mack said.

Mack pointed out that the Bears are focused in their effort to sustain the early success they’ve enjoyed. He has been impressed by how professionally teammates treated the bye week, coming back to work with a purpose and believing it's a great sign.

Second thought

Several Bears have been talking amongst themselves about how they can stay hungry and avoid complacency, linebacker Danny Trevathan said. Having won a Super Bowl previously with the Broncos, Trevathan knows what it takes to compete at the highest level and maintain that performance.

"That’s the whole motto right now -- not letting that thing slip away," Trevathan said. "Staying hungry, staying on top of things, not letting the little things slip away."

Trevathan has emphasized to younger players that it's a long season, and the veterans want to stay after them on the details. Trevathan is a respected voice in the room and the quarterback of the defense, and the coaches are placing their trust in him to be a leader.

Third degree

Arguably the biggest play of the Bears' season came from rookie defensive lineman Bilal Nichols, who tackled the Cardinals' Chase Edmonds on a crucial third-down play late in the fourth quarter of Chicago's come-from-behind win at Arizona on Sept. 23. Veteran teammates congratulated Nichols in a big way.  It reflected their growing trust and respect for him.

"I’m a workaholic," Nichols said. "I think they notice that, and I think that’s what they respect about me."

Nichols consistently seeks the advice of veterans, including defensive lineman Akiem Hicks.

"I can’t tell you how many times that me and Akiem sat down one-on-one, and he’s helped me really level up on my game," Nichols said.

Nichols asks Hicks about on-the-field and off-the-field matters. In the preseason, Hicks made Nichols sit next to him on the plane to road games and watch tape.

"Every away game," Nichols said. "We would sit there and watch the whole game on the iPad. It’s stuff like that, that I cherish. He’s taking the time to do this for me."

Fourth-and-short

Enjoying that winning feeling, the Bears are coming to work every day with an excitement and a purpose. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky explained how the Bears are locked in.

"The vibe around the building, within this team and the chemistry and the love we have for one another is definitely something we pride ourselves on, and I think that is what is helping us win as well," quarterback Mitch Trubisky said.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.