Costa Mesa, Calif. ( Associated Press) — It’s been a busy off-season for Khalil Mack since he was traded from the Chicago Bears to the Los Angeles Chargers.
In addition to getting acquainted with new teammates and getting up to speed on a new defense, the outside linebacker is rehabilitating from last year’s leg surgery.
Looking at what’s happened over the past three months, Mack is pleased with its progress.
“I can’t help but feel part of things. Plus, there’s still an adjustment to learning names, faces and all those different things. It’s coming along,” he said.
Mack has spent most of the drills working on the side, but he was participating in an 11-on-11 walkthrough on the first day of the minicamp on Tuesday. He said the rehabilitation process has been smooth so far and they should be ready to start the training camp by the end of July.
Mack is heading into his ninth NFL season. He had a strong start last season in Chicago with six sacks in seven games before being placed on injured reserve and undergoing leg surgery in November.
Coach Brandon Staley said Mack has been able to do some individual exercises. Staley, who coached Mack’s linebacker in Chicago in 2018, also noted that Mack is picking up on defense during walkthroughs.
Staley’s defense has a lot in common in terms of techniques and languages from the system run by Vic Fangio in Chicago that season.
“I can tell that Khaleel is confident in his work. You don’t need to go full speed to be able to tell whether a player knows it or not,” Staley said. “I can tell when Khaleel is convinced, when he gets into that familiar stance that I know everything too well.”
Mack and cornerback Jesse Jackson had the biggest upgrade on the defense, finishing 23rd in the league last season, but at the bottom of stopping runs and third-down conversions. The Chargers have also added defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson, Morgan Fox and linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
For the past three weeks, Mac and Joy Bossa have spent a lot of time getting to know each other. Mack has long admired Bossa’s game, especially how he uses his hands.
Bossa, who doesn’t normally come in for an off-season workout until a week before minicamp, appeared two weeks ago during the opening part of organized on-field drills.
“He’s very smart. He’s a smart runner. He thinks about a lot of things. Sometimes, he probably gets too far in his head because he knows too much,” said Mack of Bossa “He has a lot of knowledge about the game. It would be fun filming a break down together, seeing each other and sorting this out together. ,
Bossa said MAC’s admiration is flattering and that they’ve been bouncing ideas off each other since they’re different styles.
Bossa and Mac discuss taking film sessions to training camp, where they break each other’s old movies to see if they can pick up something new.
“He’s the guy I realize, early on, he was one of the guys I looked up to and was like, ‘Dang, I have to compare myself to these guys? I can’t do that.’ But, obviously, I have worked really hard to get to that point,” Bosa said.
“I think we really complement each other. Obviously, we’re not going to completely change what we do, but if we can learn something from each other here and there — just kind of A guy with experience, I’m really excited to just get out there and see how it goes together.
“Being that kind of guy to compete with every day, I always want to be the best runner out there and do the best in the group, so to do that competition every single day, I think it will motivate me to do a lot better this year.”
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