The Chicago Bears regression on both sides of the ball has been painful to watch. Khalil Mack’s regression is worse because he cost the Bears their 2020 first-round pick.
The Chicago Bears have been struggling on both sides of the ball. It’s not secret. Khalil Mack isn’t a bust but his regression hurts the Bears deeply. The Bears’ draft pick would be within the top 10 if the season ended today. The problem is, the pick goes to Oakland.
Khalil Mack’s struggle on defense isn’t a surprise to me. There are a lot of teams that double team Mack. They have designed plays to keep the ball on the other side of the field. Quarterbacks have found a way to stay away from him too.
Instead of trying to “fix” him, move him to a coverage linebacker. The same problem happened with Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor. What Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick did with Taylor was smart. They moved him into coverage to give other players a chance at the quarterback. Taylor would drop into coverage instead of rushing the passer against teams that could shut him down.
Chuck Pagano is a smart guy. Watch the film from Taylor when he played more of a coverage role. Give it a try with Mack. The season is over, it’s worth a look for next year.
Mack will be able to get to the quarterback more effectively if they move him around. As a Bear, he has done the same thing each play. He rushes the passer from the right side of the quarterback. It worked a lot last year, this year not so much.
Instead of doing something that doesn’t work, try something new. It’ll open up many possibilities for Mack. He was an all-pro as a linebacker. He can cover tight ends and running backs. That is what he does.
Pagano needs to use Mack off the line. Mack hasn’t done much of anything this season on the line. The 3-4 with Mack and Leonard Floyd rushing the quarterback just isn’t working anymore.
The Bears could switch to a 4-3, moving Mack into a coverage linebacker. With Danny Trevathan out for the season, Mack would fit well in that role. That would move Floyd to defensive end. This gives the Bears Nick Kwiatkoski, Roquan Smith, and Mack as the three linebackers.
At 4-6, the Bears season is just waiting for that final nail in the coffin. Winning out is a long shot but without a first-round draft pick, you can’t throw the season away. Switch it up, see what happens. I think the Bears are willing to try anything at this point.