GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Last year at September’s start, the Packers saw a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year traded to division rival Chicago, giving a rival its most ferocious Bear.
Edge rusher Khalil Mack sacked the Pack in 2 games last season, amassing 3.5 sacks, a pick six, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery to boot.
"Yeah, that's a challenge,” said coach Matt LaFleur.
"Yeah he's hard to deal with,” acknowledges GM Brian Gutekunst.
"He's one of those guys you have to account for,” said wary quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the victim of Mack’s one-track mind. Mack joined a defense that was already a top-10 unit before his arrival.
"You’re just adding a chip to a pretty good group already,” Rodgers said. “He's a guy you have to account for, very disruptive, he's been doing it for a number of years at a high level. He's a Pro Bowl player for a number of years now at a high level.”
Few players have had as great an immediate impact upon joining the division.
"He's a premier player,” Gutekunst said. “I have a lot of respect for him. I was lucky enough when I was around to see guys like Reggie White and guys who just dominated and Khalil is certainly one of those players."
"It's not just Mack,” LaFleur said of the challenge the Bears’ defense poses. “They have a couple guys that are like that, that's what is so challenging. You focus on one guy and then next thing you know you have (Leonard) Floyd or (Akiem) Hicks in your backfield ass well so they have a lot of good pieces across their defense you have to account for."