The addition of DE Khalil Mack adds a new element to the Packers-Bears rivalry, just ask his new teammate Akiem Hicks.
“I know those five guys can’t block Khalil Mack,” Hicks said referring to Green Bay’s offensive lineman on a conference call Wednesday.
Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga laughed off the comments.
“I mean he sounds excited to have Khalil Mack as a teammate, and he should,” Bulaga said. “He’s a heck of a football player, and we are going to have to account for where he is at all times. That’s the type of guy he is.”
After the Bears traded for Mack and made him the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player on Saturday, the Packers were forced to add to their preparation on short notice for Sunday night.
“Anytime you have a player that is acquired this late in the process, there’s a lot of video tape that’s crunched and that was really our process as a coaching staff on Sunday when we realized the trade was final,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said.
While Rodgers and the Packers played against Mack and the Raiders back in 2015, players know there will be a lot of unknowns heading into Sunday after Mack sat out all of training camp.
“We’re focused on Coach Fangio’s defense, and they’ll plug him in accordingly,” Rodgers said. “Not sure how much he’s going to play. I would guess they would try and get gim out there as much as possible, but we’ll be ready and look forward to the challenge.”
So what makes make an elite defender?
“He’s a complete player,” Bulaga said. “You look at obviously what he does in the pass game. He has power, he has speed, he has good hands. So from a pass rushing standpoint he is a complete rusher. Then he plays the run really well too.”
And fans weren’t the only ones hoping those talents would have landed in Titletown, instead of Chicago.
“I thought I was going to wake up and find out we got him,” WR Randall Cobb said. “Some things happen, and obviously, he ended up in Chicago,””That’s part of it. That’s part of the business. I was laying in bed scrolling through Twitter like, ‘Dang, man. Gotta see him twice a year now.'”
So should the Packers have gone all-in to trade for Mack? Don’t ask Aaron Rodgers.
“I don’t worry about that stuff,” Rodgers said. “I don’t need to give my opinion on that. Brian (Gutekunst) and his staff do a good job of player acquisition, and we play with the guys we got.”