Khalil Mack hoping to resume sack attack vs. Giants’ rookie Daniel Jones
The Bears’ star linebacker has one sack and no forced fumbles in his last six games. But Jones already has been sacked 32 times this season, so ...
With just one sack and no forced fumbles in his last six games, Khalil Mack is keenly aware of the opportunity against the Giants and rookie quarterback Daniel Jones on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Jones has been sacked 32 times this season — tied for third most in the NFL — including eight times against the Cardinals, five times against the Cowboys and six times against the Jets in the past four games.
“You can see the opportunities,” Mack said. “But you see a player who is progressing every week. They are throwing different things at him and he’s adjusting. One of the more impressive guys I’ve seen.”
Jones, the Giants’ first-round draft pick (sixth overall), has been hot-and-cold since supplanting veteran Eli Manning as the starter in Week 3. He had passer ratings of 124.2 against the Lions (322 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions) and 121.7 against the Jets (308 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions. But he’s been mediocre or worse against better defenses like the Patriots (35.2 rating), Vikings (65.9) and Cowboys (74.2).
“His knowledge of the game [is impressive],” Mack said. “You can tell that he can read coverages. And yeah, when it comes to getting the ball — that’s my forte. So that’s what I’m going to be looking to do this week.”
Mack is particularly eager to make an impact after getting shut out on the stat sheet in a 17-7 loss to the Rams last week. He had no tackles, sacks or other impact plays.
Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said Mack still impacted the game. But not even Mack himself was buying it.
“Hell no. Hell no,” Mack said. “I like to make an impact on the game. But a team is going to do what they feel like they need to do to keep me away from them.”
NFL offenses have been scheming to neutralize Mack almost since he entered the league in 2014. That effort seems to have increased this season. The effectiveness of it certainly has been greater since the Bears lost Pro Bowl defensive end Akiem Hicks to a dislocated elbow in Week 5 against the Raiders in London.
Mack had 4 1/2 sacks and four forced fumbles through four games this season, but has only one sack and no forced fumbles in his last six games. That trend was further put in the spotlight with the shutout against the Rams — no tackles, sacks or other impact plays.
Mack acknowledged the increased attention. “But even then, there are no excuses from me,” he said.
This situation is nothing new to him. It’s up to him to adjust, but also for others to take advantage of the attention Mack is getting.
“That’s the whole point — I’ve seen this throughout my career,” Mack said. “When Akiem was in, it was the same. But we still have some guys that can get that pressure. It’s just adjusting to it and make sure everybody else knows what’s going on and getting after that quarterback.”