Adam Gase sees Khalil Mack playing at a 'different level than anybody I’ve ever seen'

JJ STANKEVITZ
NBC Sports Chicago

Adam Gase's Miami Dolphins found a way to prevent Khalil Mack from recording a sack when the Oakland Raiders traveled to Florida in 2017, which stands as an accomplishment going against a guy with 45 1/2 sacks in 68 career games. 

Mack did have six pressures of Jay Cutler last year, though that didn't keep the longtime Bears quarterback from having his best game in a Dolphins uniform (34/42, 311 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs). But what the Dolphins did in Week 9 of last year doesn't really apply to Week 6 of the 2018 season, as Gase explained. 

"This is probably the best I've ever seen him, and I thought those first couple years in Oakland it was impressive to watch him play," Gase, the Bears' offensive coordinator in 2015, said. "But right now he's playing at a different level than anybody I've ever seen."

Mack returns from the Bears' early off week with five sacks and a forced fumble in all four games he's played. He's averaging six pressures per game, tied for second-best in the NFL with Kansas City's Dee Ford and behind only Cincinnati's Geno Atkins (6.2 pressures/game). 

While Mack is on pace for a gaudy 20-sack season, there's no reason why he can't reach that total - since 2008, four players have reached that mark (DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen, Justin Houston and JJ Watt, who did it twice). Mack's career high is 15 sacks, set in 2015, but as Gase said, he's playing at a different level with the Bears. So why not 20?

"He looks really good right now, I know that," Gase said. "Last year we played him a little later in the season, he was pretty banged up and he had some really good pass rushes that we just happened to barely get the ball off. You try to do everything you can to get it to where he can't destroy the game - it's always hard to stop him from affecting it in some capacity."

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