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How Can the Bears Generate Pressure Without a Healthy Khalil Mack?

The Chicago Bears will have to find unique ways to generate pressure on Sam Darnold Sunday.

Remember when the Chicago Bears were leading the NFL in sacks and Khalil Mack was getting MVP type hype?

This seems like ancient news but was actually the case just two weeks ago. Mack had a strip sack in four straight games and the Bears defense was being discussed amongst the top in the league. The past two weeks have not been as promising to say the least.

The pressure has essentially disappeared from the Bears defense as they have only gotten to the quarterback once in the past two games. That is something that will need to change against an injury-plagued Jets team coming into Soldier Field. The question is where will it come from?

Why in the world did Mack have to roll his ankle?

Khalil Mack rolled up his ankle early in the game against the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago and simply has not looked the same since. He continued to play in that game and suited up last week against the Patriots to keep his streak of playing in every game of his career alive.

Unfortunately, it’s obvious he is not 100% and is not disrupting games as he was in the first four weeks. It is one thing to fight through a double team, but to do so on a bum ankle is close to impossible regardless of who the player is. With Mack still battling this ankle issue, Vic Fangio and company will have to look elsewhere for pressure.

Where in the world is Leonard Floyd?

Before the Mack trade, many analysts believe that this could possibly be a breakout season for the former 9th overall pick from Georgia. Once the Mack news broke, even more, people jumped on the idea of Floyd producing numbers due to the attention Mack would demand.

Well, none of this has shown up through six weeks. Floyd hasn’t sniffed the quarterback all year.
Floyd did battle a hand injury early on that required him to wear a club, but since then he has not shown any glimpses of being a threat.

Through six games he has totaled just 15 tackles and zero sacks. Now is the time for Floyd to step up and have that breakout game. With a rookie quarterback and an offense missing a plethora of starters coming into town, this week can shape up nicely for him to turn things around.

Who is Bilal Nichols?

The occasional Bears fan may not recognize the name Bilal Nichols, but they will soon enough. The fifth-round rookie out of Delaware is quickly making a name for himself being tied for the team lead in tackles for a loss (3) and fumble recoveries (1). He has not played a ton of snaps, but when he is out there he is making plays. Take a look at the burst he gets off the line of scrimmage here:

Nichols is just getting started and looks like the real deal. He is going to start to see the field much more and pairing him with Akiem Hicks is going to free up the edge rushers regardless if that is Mack and Floyd or anyone else.

How in the world do the Bears not win this Sunday?
The Bears should win this game handily.

However, the Bears also should have won the Dolphins game, period. No one expected the Bears to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots, but losing to Brock Osweiler the week before still leaves a sour taste in fans’ mouths. If they can lose to the Brocketship then they can surely lose to Sam Darnold. Stopping the run and applying constant pressure on the rookie will be key this week.

The Jets’ defense is not a dumpster fire, but their offense is not anything to be scared of either. The Bears defense has an ideal matchup this weekend to get back on track to their dominating ways. There is no certainty of how effective Mack will be, so this is the week someone else will need to step up and provide some much-needed pressure on the quarterback.

Follow Charlie on Twitter–Featured Photo Credit: USA Today 

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