Bears coach Matt Nagy willing to bet on Aaron Lynch — ‘I like where he’s at’
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The addition of Khalil Mack eases the Bears’ need for edge rushers. But you can never have enough — a big reason why Aaron Lynch is on the team despite not participating in one full practice or preseason game.
Lynch’s availability remains in doubt for the season opener Sunday against the Packers. But Lynch’s upside when healthy is intriguing, especially with his familiarity with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s system. So the Bears are taking a shot that when Lynch gets healthy, he’ll stay healthy.
“He’s bummed out that this happened more than anybody,” coach Matt Nagy said. “Aaron’s a very good football player. He knows Vic’s scheme. We just have to get him out there and show what he can do.
“With the addition of Khalil, I think that’s only going to help him in learning from somebody like Khalil. [We’ve] instantly created some depth. We’re in a good spot. I like where he’s at. I have to see him out there on the field.”
Eric Kush still figures to start at left guard against Green Bay, though Nagy still left the door slightly open for rookie James Daniels to get the nod.
“There’s a good chance [Kush will start],” Nagy said. “I’m not gonna say 100 percent because we haven’t declared that yet. But there’s a good possibility he will start.”
Though it appears to be a long shot, Daniels, 20, would be the seventh Bear to play in a regular-season game before turning 21 — behind fullback Andy Livingston (1964), Hall of Fame guard Danny Fortmann (1936), center Billy Autrey (1953), running back Rashaan Salaam (1995), defensive end Alonzo Spellman (1992) and cornerback Al Louis-Jean (2014).
Respect for Khalil
Mack enters the Bears’ organization with plenty of respect for not only his ability, but his approach to the game.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play [against] him, so nothing surprises me with him,” guard Kyle Long said. “He’s a guy I know doesn’t take plays off and works his butt off. To have that work ethic coupled with his talent level, special things happen.”
Memories of Mack
Nagy was 6-2 against Mack with the Chiefs from 2014 to ’17. The Bears were 1-0 against him — a 22-20 victory at Soldier Field. Mack had four tackles, including a sack of Jay Cutler on the Bears’ eventual game-winning field-goal drive in the last two minutes.
“I don’t remember [facing Mack],” left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. “All I know is that was my first start, I’m from Oakland, and we won the game. So that was a great day for me.”