Below are three takeaways from Khalil Mack's introductory press conference on Wednesday.
Mack arrives in L.A.
Before Khalil Mack got the news last week he'd be the newest addition to the Chargers defense, he was watching TV with his fiancé and son. Ironically enough, Mack and his family were watching "Bel-Air" when he got the call from his agent that he'd be making the move from Chicago to Los Angeles to join the Bolts.
Fast forward to Wednesday, and Mack and his fiancé were at the Chargers facility, now officially members of their new team. At his introductory press conference, Mack talked about his initial reaction to hearing news of the trade and how his connection with head coach Brandon Staley helped fuel his excitement.
"It kind of went from bittersweet to excited," Mack said. "Knowing who I'm dealing with and the type of man that [Brandon Staley] is, first and foremost, and how much he truly loves the game of football. You can feel that whenever you speak to him — not just understanding the football aspect, but the man and the relationship that we have, and what we were able to do while we were together, I got excited."
As Mack walked around the Bolts facility in his newly gifted hoodie that read 'California Love' in blue letters with a white and black Chargers bolt above it, he talked about the boost of energy he's felt since arriving in L.A and how excited he is to get back on the field.
"That's always the mindset, new team or not," he said. "Understanding what the narrative about me is right now, I can't wait. I'm not a talker. I'd rather show y'all than tell you."
As Mack heads into his ninth season in the NFL, he makes a return to the division where it all started for him, the AFC West. Mack spent his first four seasons with the then Oakland Raiders in which he was named to three Pro Bowls and added 2016 Defensive Player of the Year to his stacked resume. He now gets the chance to pair up with the safety Derwin James and fellow OLB Joey Bosa, who led the league in strip sacks last season.
"When you talk about Joey Bosa, Derwin James, [CB] J.C. Jackson, [CB] Asante Samuel Jr., all of these different intangibles — and these guys are very explosive players and explosive playmakers — I'm looking forward to it," he said. "Like I said, that's the easy part, to talk about it. But I'm an action guy. That's what I'm looking forward to, putting in the work and winning ball games, ultimately."
Reuniting with Staley
During Mack's first season with the Bears in 2018, he was selected to his fourth-straight Pro Bowl and named a First-Team AP All-Pro. One of the key members of Chicago's staff that helped Mack get acclimated after he was traded was none other than Brandon Staley, who at the time was the Bears outside linebackers coach.
Mack talked about what it means to reunite with Staley on the Chargers and what allowed their relationship to grow so fast during their year together in Chicago.
"That was the person that I spent the most time with when I first got to Chicago," Mack said of Staley. "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, which was complicated in the fact of understanding what [former Bears Defensive Coordinator] Vic Fangio likes to do."
He also talked about Staley's coaching style and how important it was for them to develop a mutual trust in order to get the best out of each other.
"I feel like we talked a lot of ball, which is why I can say I know who he is as a person and as a coach," he said. "He definitely listened. I feel like it was a mix of him and [former Bears Defensive Coordinator] Vic [Fangio]. At the time, they listened to the input of the players and understand what positions to put them in and how to make them they're best self throughout the game. I feel like that's key. I feel like he had to trust in me, as well, to listen. I think that might be why he has been the way that he has been, as far as listening to the player's input, which is a good thing."
Get an inside look at the Khalil Mack's first day as part of the Bolt Fam
Focus is on being a game changer with full offseason to prepare
One of the key differences in Mack's arrival in Chicago and his arrival in L.A. is the amount of time he has to prepare for the upcoming season.
Mack was traded to Chicago on September 1, just seven days before the Bears' season opener against the Green Bay Packers. He now joins the Bolts at the start of the new league year with a full offseason ahead. Mack talked about the advantage of joining the Bolts at this point in the year and how he's excited to get in a routine and get to work.
"It's very helpful," Mack said. "Especially understanding that I was being thrown into a situation last minute, getting familiar with the system, getting familiar with the area, getting familiar with all of these different things that you have to be familiar with in order to get comfortable in a certain situation. I'm looking forward to it."
Mack also talked about what a successful season will look like for him and why it's important to continue to be a complete player and 'change the game' on Sundays.
"I mean, ultimately, being able to change the game, whether it's getting to the quarterback or it's getting in the backfield and stopping the run," he mentioned. "I just want to be a complete player, whether it's dropping in coverage and getting an interception — in any way, in any aspect of the game. I want to be able to change the game, whether it's getting turnovers, which I feel like I have a knack for. You say metrics, but I just want to be destructive in any way possible."
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