The Philadelphia Eagles are facing a big problem on Sunday -- pass rusher Khalil Mack. I’m afraid that if the offensive line doesn’t lock him down early, he will make impactful plays that will sway the game to the Bears' favor. Mack alone should have Doug Pederson on high alert. So why focus on this one player when the Bears defense has several playmakers?
Mack is a force to be reckoned with, and is currently playing like he is on a path to Canton, Ohio. In every year except his rookie year, he has recorded at least 10 sacks. In 2015, just his second year in the league, he brought down quarterbacks 15 times. So far in 2019 he is already at 5.5 sacks halfway through the season. He certainly sounds like someone the Eagles need to shut down.
This can not be a game the Eagles let him ball out, especially with the Eagles having an experienced player on offensive line. Yes, that bullseye will be painted on the Eagles left tackle rookie Andre Dillard, and he is going to be tested all game long. The Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys both knew to took advantage of the first-round draft pick trying to get his feet wet, and in those two games Carson Wentz was running around like his pants were on fire and took some serious shots. Dillard did seem to turn things around in the team's most recent game against the Buffalo Bills, but we'll have to wait and see if he is settled in good now or if Mack and the Bears will leave him unhinged.
So how do the Eagles try to stop such a fantastic player? Is there a way to shut him down or at least contain him (I mean that’s all I’m hoping for from this match up nightmare)? Yes there is a way to limit his production.
Since the Eagles go with a two tight-end package all the time, they need to use tight end Dallas Goedert to help Dillard most of the game to block Mack. Just that is not going to stop him though, as he will find ways to get to the ball still. That’s why the Eagles need to be creative with their plays to lead Mack away from the ball. Screens, flea flickers, misdirections, reverses, the whole nine yards.
Those combinations alone can take Mack out of the game to point where the Bears will need another playmaker to step up. We'll have to wait to see what Doug has up his sleeve for the game, but I am sure he is game planning to make Khalil Mack a non-factor.