There’s really nothing like some good old-fashioned trash talk. Whether or not Chicago Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks was being 100-percent serious when he spoke to reporters via conference call Wednesday afternoon, only he knows. But if he was, he definitely got his money’s worth.
Hicks took the opportunity to drop Mack’s name into each one of his answers, beginning with telling reporters that his new teammate happened to be sitting right next to him on the training table. From that point, it was all Mack, all the time.
“The question every team is going to have is, ‘How do we block Khalil Mack?’ right? And so then being there just gives me more freedom to have one-on-ones,” Hicks said when asked how the acquisition of Mack affects the rest of the Bears’ defensive front.
And how does Hicks feel about the Bears’ front seven as a whole?
“I mean, once we added Khalil Mack, it just kind of sealed the deal.”
When the questions shifted to the Packers’ offensive line, Hicks took the opportunity to drop a little bulletin board material.
“I know those five guys can’t block Khalil Mack,” he said, adding, “They have to put their offensive line together however they do it and put their best product out on the field. But I don’t think their best product can block Khalil Mack.”
The last line drew laughter from the background, presumably from Mack himself. Throughout the entirety of the conference call, Hicks seemed to be trying to elicit a reaction from his new colleague as much as anything.
At one point, Hicks was asked whether or not teams try to attack opposing players who are coming back from significant injuries. Bryan Bulaga, who is expected to start at right tackle on Sunday night, will be returning from a torn ACL he suffered last November.
“I think it affects guys when they come back from an injury, especially older guys like Bulaga,” Hicks said, “but I don’t think he had a chance to block Khalil Mack in the first place.”
While neither Hicks nor first-year head coach Matt Nagy would confirm how much the Bears plan to use Mack, it was evident they’re happy to have him.
“Can you tell I’m excited to have my new teammate?” Hicks asked, before ending the call with, “You guys be great, and remember this: Khalil Mack, Khalil Mack, Khalil Mack, Khalil Mack.”