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Packers-Bears Film Preview: Where will Khalil Mack line up for Chicago’s defense? Khalil Mack , the longtime Oakland Raider, is now the highest paid defensive player in the league. And he’s also a member of the Chicago Bears. If you had asked everyone six months ago how the Mack situation in Oakland would have played out, I bet you could have counted on one hand the number of people who said he was going to Chicago.Unfortunately, the Green Bay Packers are going to have to deal with this reality through 2024. In preparation for Sunday’s game, we take a look at how Mack’s transition from defensive end to outside linebacker might go.2014Mack saw the field right away in his rookie season, starting the season technically as the SAM, or Strong-side outside linebacker, in a 4-3 under formation.On early downs, Mack would be in a stand-up position on the LOS outside the defensive tackle.Standing up meant Mack was more of a read and react player, where he would engage with a blocker, read the play, shed the block, and pursue the ballcarrier.This read and react style of play tends to limit players’ pass rush pressures on these early downs, especially for younger players in the league, as the processing of the play type takes a split second, and that split second is vital when it comes to rushing the passer.Keep in mind that this does not apply when the linebacker is told to blitz; the read and react becomes someone else’s responsibility then.On passing situations, Mack would lineup as the rush end on either side of the defense. There didn’t appear to be a concise gameplan for which side Mack would rush from but it didn’t really matter - even though Mack expressed frustration that he only managed to record 4.5 sacks on the year, he piled up the pressures as he ranked tied for 5th in the league.2015Mack, under new head coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., still started games in a standing position and he was able to have success there.However, Mack was increasingly playing with his hand in the dirt.Norton Jr., similar to his predecessor, also employed a 4-3 defense but officially moved Mack to a DE position. Here he is rushing off the left side against Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga.By starting with a hand on the ground and playing the defensive end position, it relinquishes (to an extent, as it’s playcall dependent) the read and react nature of the outside linebacker position and instead the player can focus on beating the man in front of him.The results spoke for themselves; freed up to be more aggressive in pursuit of the ball, Mack finished the year with 15 sacks, second only to J.J. Watt.What stood out to me was how effortless Mack makes everything look - shedding blocks, speed moves, long arm moves, backside pursuit, inside counters - Mack had evolved from raw rookie to an elite edge player in one season.In reviewing Mack’s film, it’s interesting to note that of his 18 combined individual and half sacks that year (12 individual sacks worth 1, 6 combined sacks worth .5 for a total of 15 sacks) Cheap Clay Matthews Jersey , only three out of those 18 combined sacks came when he was playing in a stand-up position and none of those three were high quality.The first came when he only had a running back blocking him who missed a cut block; the second came when he chased down a quarterback playing a spy position; and the third was a cleanup sack brought by other players’ pressure.Additionally, 15 of the 18 combined sacks came when he was rushing from the left side of the defense.While this may sound important, don’t let this fool you - this was only because Mack predominantly lined up in a down position on the left side of the defense, thereby having a much greater number of opportunities to accumulate those sacks.There’s absolutely no question in my mind that if he had lined up in, say, a standup position on the right side, Mack would have had a similar impact.2016 and 2017Mack, now fully entrenched as the premier pass rusher in the league, was receiving the respect from offenses that he deserved.It took him four games to get his first sack in 2016, due in large part to offenses recognizing what a force he is, and either double teaming him or getting the ball out quickly.Mack didn’t do anything new or line up in many different spots; on early downs or with heavier offensive looks Mack saw a lot of time as the left defensive end and would line up outside the offensive tackle or tight end if there was one.He would still play in a stand-up position sometimes:On passing downs, Mack would widen out but primarily stick to the left side, going up against the offense’s right tackle.This is what Mack did for a majority of the time.Similar to 2015, very few sacks came from a standup position or from anywhere but the left side.Mack was being played in a fixed position on passing downs, and he was reaping the benefits. Just look at his sacks:But versatility is king in the modern NFL defense and the Raiders were beginning to recognize that as well.Mack has the athleticism and overall talent to lineup anywhere on the field and be productive, so Norton Jr. would on occasion have him line up inside with Bruce Irvin and have other linemen play on the outside:or Norton would switch Mack over to the right side.As teams want to gain every edge possible, defensive fronts would change based upon the weekly and in-game matchups that were presented, and traditional defensive roles were blurred.2018Now it’s time to face the music — Khalil Mack will be chasing Aaron Rodgers around for roughly 80 plays a year for the forseeable future.Mack is slotted as an outside linebacker for the Bears, an important position for the success of Vic Fangio’s defense as it is in most 3-4 defenses.They need to rush the passer, set the edge on runs, and occasionally drop back in coverage.Outside linebackers are asked to do a lot, and the Bears’ lack of pressure in recent years has been largely blamed on poor outside linebacker play.While it has been a minute since Mack consistently played outside linebacker, he’s been successful at whatever position he’s been put in.I would expect him to play standing up in the LOLB spot in base packages, but quickly get kicked down on the line in sub packages so he can do what he got a record breaking contract to do. I don’t expect Mack to switch sides from left to right; its clear that he’s had success on the left side and Chicago’s other outside linebacker, Leonard Floyd, is a solid young talent.Packer fans might be ruing the fact they didn’t draft a replacement for Bryan Bulaga, because that’s the matchup we’re going to see a lot of.As teams have figured out with every superstar pass rusher, you cannot block them one on one for any length of time and be successful unless the ball leaves the quarterback’s hands in two seconds or less.The Packers are at their best when the offense is able to strike quickly, but Aaron Rodgers has a propensity to hold on to the ball and squeeze every second out of a play.The Packers will have to adjust their game-planning a bit in order to account for Mack — I would predict a lot of chipping by tight ends and running backs.In all honesty, though, I want to see Mack line up over David Bakhtiari 60 times a game and have those two go one on one.The best pass rusher in the league versus the best pass blocker in the league is must-see TV.No matter where Mack lines up, hopefully, Green Bay will be able to limit the number of times this happens. Mason Crosby smiled as he left the field.It was quite the week for the Green Bay Packers' veteran kicker.Crosby hit four field goals Mason Crosby Jersey , including the winner from 27 yards as time expired to lift the Packers past the San Francisco 49ers 33-30 on Monday night."This week was a grind, it was one of the tougher weeks of my career," Crosby said.It began with rare questions about Crosby's reliability following four missed field goals and an extra-point try in a 31-23 loss in Detroit last week.It ended with a perfect night against the 49ers. He also hit from 29, 39 and 51 yards, and made all three extra-point attempts."It's very appropriate, what he went through last week, (for) the team to stick with him," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "And then he responded."The drive that led to Crosby's winner was extended after cornerback Richard Sherman was flagged for illegal contact on third-and-15 that wiped out a sack with 43 seconds left.Rodgers rushed up the middle for a 21-yard gain on the next play. The two-time NFL MVP completed two more passes for 19 yards to set up Crosby's winner for Green Bay (3-2-1)."It doesn't matter if you agree with the call. It's not like, 'Oh, I didn't agree with the call, they're going to pick it up.' They called it. I've got to find a way to do better," Sherman said.Other takeaways and key moments from the game:CLUTCH RODGERSRodgers threw for 425 yards and two scores, both to Davante Adams. The second came with 1:55 left from 16 yards to tie it at 30.The Packers didn't waste a second chance to get into field-goal range after the penalty on Sherman.After a spike to stop the clock with 19 seconds left following his 21-yard scramble to the Packers 45, Rodgers hit three straight passes to move Green Bay to the San Francisco 9. The receivers got out of bounds after each of play to buy more time."Just the time, and just really the menu (of plays) and the operation, that was a clinic," coach Mike McCarthy said.LATE PICKC.J. Beathard passed for 245 yards and two long touchdowns to speedy receiver Marquise Goodwin for the 49ers (1-5).For a while it looked like they might hold on for their first victory since quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was lost for the year in Week 3 with a torn ACL.Turnovers hurt them again 鈥?three more on Monday night, but none bigger than cornerback Kevin King's interception of a deep pass down the middle at the Packers 10."Very disappointed. We had a chance to win that game," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "It hurts."A second-year cornerback, King was locked in 1-on-1 coverage with Goodwin, who had burned the secondary all night. This time, King kept up and pulled in a ball that looked slightly underthrown by Beathard.King picked a nice time for his first career interception."I've just got to stay the course, keep doing your job, keep it going, and those types of plays are going to come," King said.GOOD GOODWINThe Packers had 17-7 lead when Rodgers connected with Adams for a 9-yard touchdown with 1:58 left in the first quarter.Then San Francisco just brushed past Green Bay.Beathard connected with Goodwin for the 67-yard score down the middle of the field on the ensuing series.Goodwin had a 30-yard score with 6:05 left in the second. Goodwin, who finished with four catches for 126 yards, celebrated by mimicking a long jump in the end zone.Beathard was 16 of 23.NO TAKEAWAYSAnother game without a takeaway for the Niners dropped them to an NFL-worst minus-11 in turnover differential. The defense had generated a league-low three takeaways coming into the night, the fewest for the franchise after five games since 1977.RECEIVERS RUN AWAYThe Packers got the 49ers to bite on play-action early that resulted in open passes to Jimmy Graham and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.Rodgers found Valdes-Scantling for a 60-yard completion on the Packers' first play from scrimmage, setting up Ty Montgomery's 2-yard touchdown run with 9:20 left in the first quarter to tie the game at 7.Graham and Valdes-Scantling each finished with more than 100 yards receiving. Adams had 10 catches on 16 targets with a game-high 132 yards and two scores.It was a promising night for a passing game with receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison both sidelined again with hamstring injuries.

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