Bears DE Akiem Hicks says Packers can't block Khalil Mack

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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When healthy, the Packers think they have a stout offensive line, anchored by two-time second-team All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.

Don't tell that to Chicago Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks.

"I know those five guys can't block Khalil Mack," Hicks said on a conference call with reporters at Lambeau Field.

No doubt buoyed by Saturday's trade for Mack -- a defensive end that the Packers also inquired about when the Oakland Raiders put him on the market -- Hicks spent most of Wednesday's call talking about his new teammate.

However, Hicks' statement might not have been as much trash talk as it was a message for Mack, whom Hicks said just happened to be getting stretched out right next to him in the Bears' training room during the conference call.

"I think the question every team is going to ask is, how do you block Khalil Mack?" Hicks said. "So him being there, it just gives me more freedom to have one-on-ones."

"Can you tell how excited I am to have my new teammate?" Hicks added.

In fact, Hicks ended the call with this: "You guys be great, and remember this: Khalil Mack, Khalil Mack, Khalil Mack, Khalil Mack."

Mack's late addition added another layer to Sunday night's Bears-Packers season opener at Lambeau Field. The Packers devoted an entire practice during camp to working on the rival Bears. That's something Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy does annually, regardless of the Week 1 opponent, but that late August session did not include anything about Mack.

"There's a lot of videotape that's crunched; that was really our process as a coaching staff on Sunday when we realized that the trade was final," McCarthy said Wednesday.

Mack has played one game against the Packers in his career, in 2015. He beat right tackle Bryan Bulaga with a spin move for a first-quarter sack. Bulaga is coming off an ACL tear in November that ended his season. He played only 12 snaps this preseason -- all in the finale -- but he is expected to start on Sunday night.

"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."

Mack practiced with the Bears for the first time on Wednesday, and he expects to play against the Packers, although given that he skipped the entire training camp and preseason in Oakland, his playing time could be limited.

"I know I want to try and get to Aaron [Rodgers] on Sunday," Mack told reporters in Chicago on Wednesday.

Neither Rodgers nor Bulaga took offense to Hicks' comments or barked back.

"I don't need to react to every comment that's made," Rodgers said. "I think I've made that pretty clear."

Bulaga offered his take.

"He sounds excited to have Khalil Mack as a teammate, and he should," Bulaga said. "He's a heck of a football player; we're going to have to account for where he is at all times. That's the type of guy he is."

Rodgers also wouldn't say whether he was disappointed when Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst's effort to acquire Mack fell through.

"I don't worry about that stuff. I don't need to give my opinion on that," Rodgers said. "Brian and his staff do a good job of player acquisition, and we play with the guys we got."

However, at least one Packers player, receiver Randall Cobb, was holding out hope that they would land Mack.

"I thought I was going to wake up and find out we got him. Some things happen, and obviously, he ended up in Chicago," Cobb said. "That's part of it. That's part of the business. I was laying in bed scrolling through Twitter like, 'Dang, man. Gotta see him twice a year now.'"

The Packers' starting offensive line also includes guards Lane Taylor and Justin McCray plus center Corey Linsley. All but McCray are established veterans, but even McCray started eight games last season (including five at right tackle).

Green Bay's backup tackle situation, however, has been problematic.

Kyle Murphy, who could have entered the season as the No. 3 tackle, went on injured reserve with an ankle injury, forcing the Packers to keep undrafted free agent Alex Light on the roster.

Jason Spriggs, a former second-round pick, is now the No. 3 tackle, but he has not been consistent when called upon. And veteran offseason signing Byron Bell struggled at tackle and moved to guard midway through the preseason.

Last season, the Packers started 11 different offensive line combinations. McCarthy had hoped to build continuity in practice this summer, but with Bulaga limited by his rehab and an ankle injury to Bakhtiari, the projected starters did not take a single snap together in preseason games.

"I'm the optimist," McCarthy said when asked about his line. "I think you have to just believe in the men, and I think it's obvious that we haven't practiced a whole lot together -- the offensive line that's projected to start in this game. So hopefully, the good Lord has touched us and we've got our injury phase out of the way. That's all part of the challenge.

"These guys, they have a lot of playing experience. They just don't have the volume of reps in this particular training camp that you'd like going into it, but those are things you can't control. They'll have a great week of practice, and we'll be ready to go."

ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.