Khalil Mack on Bears: 'Hungrier than we were last year'

  • By Grant Gordon
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A year ago at this time, Khalil Mack was still a member of the Oakland Raiders searching for a new contract under a new regime.

As the 2019 summer heats up, Mack has most definitely found his place as a face of the Chicago Bears franchise -- even if this is still his first training camp with the franchise.

Following Mack's trade to the Bears ahead of the 2018 season, things immediately changed as expectations grew. It seems as if they're continuing to grow for the reigning NFC North champions.

"We're hungrier than we were last year," Mack said via NBCSports Chicago's JJ Stankevitz. "I'm speaking for myself, as well. I'm way hungrier than I was last year. "

Mack was an All-Pro selection who posted 12.5 sacks in 14 games in 2018, but as much as any statistical significance, his impact was felt in shifting Chicago's belief that it could be a contender. A sterling 12-4 regular season was produced in Mack's first season with the Bears as the team earned its first playoff berth and division crown since 2010.

Leading the way was a ferocious defense which Mack also believes can improve, starting with linebacking standouts Roquan Smith, who's also in his first Bears training camp, and Danny Trevathan.

As a rookie, Smith led the Bears with 121 tackles, and Trevathan was second with 102.

"Ultimately, I feel like [Smith] can be an All-Pro player along with Danny on the inside," Mack said. "I feel like those two should take over the All-Pro position for this year. You can say that's a large task for these guys, but I don't think it will be."

Whether speaking about being hungrier himself or his teammates rising to All-Pro status, Mack's onus matches that of his other teammates who have spoken out in the offseason following a playoff run that ended in the NFC Wild Card round with a one-point loss to the Eagles.

"It definitely wasn't good enough," Mack said of his first year with the Bears. "Just looking forward to this year and getting better."