Publish date:

Khalil Mack Ready for Anything

The last Bears-Raiders game left a strong memory with Khalil Mack, as did his previous four season before being traded to Chicago.

Three-plus years and a different home city later, the feelings still run deep with Khalil Mack toward Raider Nation.

If he has any grudges against the Raiders when the Bears play them in their new Las Vegas home at Allegiant Stadium, it probably focuses not against fans but a certain coach who can resemble a Chucky doll—the same guy who wanted to know if the Bears might want to trade Mack back to the Raiders this summer.

"It's different in a sense because you understand the fan base and what it means to me, especially," Mack said Friday after practicing for the first time this week. "And so it's gonna be fun to get a chance to play in front of Raider Nation out there."

Make no mistake, Mack will play even though he is listed questionable and only went through a limited practice on Friday due to rib and foot injuries.

"I'm gonna be out there," Mack said. "If I'm out there, I'm 100 percent."

If some of his feelings about the Raiders are good and some bad, much of the good runs back to his friendship with quarterback Derek Carr.

So, he didn't exactly see it Joey Bosa's way when the Chargers edge rusher said Monday night that Carr, "...really gets shook," when he is hit a few times.

"I don't really have a reaction to it," Mack said of the comment. "I know Derek. I know he's a competitor.

"And I know we're going to have our hands full come Sunday. Looking forward to the challenge."

They're friends, but this week the texting between Mack and the Raiders quarterback will by Mack pursuing his old teammate.

"We're not too friendly during the week of, but at the same time, there's always conversations we have—more so now about my kid and his kids, so just talking about fatherhood and enjoying that process," Mack said.

Mack has four sacks despite some nagging injuries this season again, and pretty much can expect some sort of double teams or other shenanigans from Raiders coach Jon Gruden this week when they face the silver and black.

That's because it happened in 2019 when they played in London.

The Raiders were detected during the game, as well as later on film, making and getting away with illegal chop blocks. They didn't get away with all of them but with most. They also instituted the legal and not entirely manly double-team and triple-team approach with Mack in that game.

It was as though Gruden was going to do everything possible not to let Mack beat the Raiders after he had traded the edge rusher to the Bears.

"Yeah, it's something that you look at, when you study the film, and (then) understand what they wanted to do and the message they wanted to send," Mack said. "It's our job to know what type of team we're going against and knowing the attitude of the head coach that's over there and understanding who we're about to face."

The way the Bears responded in that 24-21 loss still doesn't sit well with Mack and others two years later. They fell behind 17-0, rallied to lead, and lost in overtime.

"I mean, regardless of what kind of message they wanted to send, it's what we felt on our side and understanding that we've gotta be the ones to make them feel us," Mack said.

It's safe to say Mack can expect the same things going on, tactics he described as "ahkie things."

"I don't care. I don't care what they do," Mack said. "I just know I'll be ready for it."

To Mack the bottom line is the same as it always is.

"I really don't care what they was trying to do to me, personally," Mack said. "I just want to go out and put the team in position to win. That's always been my goal and that's always gonna be my goal."

The rib injury plaguing Mack now is courtesy not of some ahkie thing, but instead his return against the Lions of the fumble caused by Robert Quinn's strip-sack. He made a lateral to Eddie Jackson as he was tackled from behind, an illegal forward lateral, and then fell on the tackler's elbow.

"If I didn't have nobody grabbing my foot, I probably would've been able to get there," Mack said of the end zone. "Then I heard BoJack call my name.

"I know he's a guy that, when he touches the ball, he scores it every time. I took my chances trying to get it to him. It looked like a fumble so I didn't know if they were gonna call it. But it is what it is."

Jackson was hollering for him to lateral.

"If you see the play, I looked back to see who was calling me in case it was somebody from the other team," Mack said. "My second thought as soon as I felt some arms around me was to throw the ball to him. It looked like a forward pass but I got tackled."

Based on what has been said about the Raiders' tactics in the last game, Mack can no doubt look forward to being tackled again on Sunday, but probably not when he has the ball.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven