By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
LaAdrian Waddle won his first matchup against Khalil Mack. It appears that he needs to be ready for round two.
According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, optimism is dropping for Marcus Cannon (concussion) to start on Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. That means that Waddle would likely see 100 percent of the snaps at right tackle – and a heavy dose of Mack off the edge.
Mack is a newly paid man in Chicago after departing from the Raiders. So Waddle doesn’t see a lot from last year’s game in Mexico City that’s going to help him now.
“I don’t think theres too much I can carry over [from last season],” said Waddle. “It’s a different game, different circumstances, different teams and all that. Nothing really carries over from that. But he was definitely a challenging guy to go against. He can rush the passer and he’s a physical player. He’s going to play hard through the whistle. I’ve just got to be ready for that.”
Waddle did a strong-enough job keeping Mack at bay last season. Mack finished with a sack and three quarterback hits, but the damage was minimal. Tom Brady picked the Raiders apart for 340 yards and three touchdowns, posting a 132.0 passer rating.
The Bears defense is a little different. There’s more than just Mack to worry about up front. Between former Patriots Akiem Hicks at defensive tackle, 2016 first-round pick Leonard Floyd off the edge, and 2018 first-rounder Roquan Smith & veteran thumper Danny Trevathan at linebacker, Mack is merely the biggest out of several legit threats.
Tom Brady and the Patriots offensive line will have its hands full, but especially with Mack. They may not be able to double-team him, or even triple-team him as they did on certain plays against Oakland. This isn’t a one-man defense. So a lot of responsibility is going to fall on Waddle to take Mack out one-on-one.
He did surprisingly well in his first test. It’s going to be crucial that he passes the second, as well.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.