Next Sunday night, Khalil Mack could (given what the Bears gave up for him, should) make his debut for the Bears, in a visit to Green Bay for a Week One showdown against the Packers. Former referee Terry McAulay will be in the booth, in his first regular-season game as the Sunday Night Football rules analyst.
For now, McAulay’s insights can be seen on Twitter, and he made an intriguing point on Saturday after news emerged that the Bears were adding the 2016 defensive player of the year.
“Khalil Mack to the Bears, assuming he plays, significantly increases the degree of difficulty for the referee,” McAulay said. “Anytime there is a great pass rusher . . . two things occur: 1. The opposing QB is going to get hit more often, so more tough judgments regarding Roughing the Passer fouls (some issues with these in the preseason); 2. The LT or RT are more likely to get beat, which increases the chances for offensive holding fouls.”
The Bears haven’t said whether Mack will play. They probably don’t, and won’t, know if he’s game-ready until they get a chance to eyeball him on the practice field. If he does play, the dynamic will make for a much more interesting game — and a challenge for both the guys in green and gold and the folks in black and white.