Khalil Mack was traded to the Bears just a week before the start of the 2018 season, and yet in his first game with Chicago he made an enormous impact, with a strip-sack and a pick-six in the opener against the Packers. He credits Brandon Staley with getting him ready so quickly.
Mack, who was officially traded from the Bears to the Chargers on Wednesday, said he’s excited to work again with Staley, who is now the Chargers’ head coach. Staley was the Bears’ linebackers coach when Mack arrived in Chicago, and Mack said on Wednesday that Staley meant a lot to him.
“That was the person that I spent the most time with when I first got to Chicago,” Mack said. “We would be in the room together going over the playbook. I feel like I had a week to prepare for the Packers — not even a week, maybe like five, six days. It was a quick turnaround, and he was a big part of me consuming a big part of that playbook.”
Mack said that when he first arrived in Chicago, he and Staley would go through all the normal practices and meetings, and then the two of them would stay together long after the rest of the team had gone home.
“Dealing with me coming in and having to stay longer, I’m talking about hours after everybody has already left,” Staley said. “Seeing the time and delicacy that he had to put in that time. I mean, I don’t think you really understand how fast I really had to learn a whole defensive playbook and he made it easy. He made it easy. You could just see his passion through it, understanding how much he knew I wanted to get out there for that first game. We were able to do it.”
Now Mack and Staley hope they can do it again.