Oshane Ximines may be the only player on the Giants' roster who will be disappointed if Khalil Mack does not play for the Bears in Friday night’s preseason game at MetLife Stadium.
“Hopefully he gets a series so I can actually see what he does in person first-hand there on the field,” Ximines, the Giants’ rookie outside linebacker said this week. “I’m very excited.”
Chances are Mack will not be giving such a tutorial on pass-rushing. The Bears played a full-speed scrimmage at their training camp on Wednesday and all indications are that their starters will have the night off for this game.
Still, Mack will be there on the field before the game and in warm-ups. That will give Ximines a chance to chat with one of the league’s premier players at his position.
“Any little thing he can give me out there, I’ll take it,” Ximines said.
Right now, there are a lot more differences between Mack, one of the NFL’s most dominant defenders, and Ximines, a third-round rookie draft pick. But the two do compare favorably on paper. They both come from small colleges (Mack from Buffalo, Ximines from Old Dominion) and are roughly the same size (Mack is listed at 6-3, 252, Ximines at 6-4, 254). It’s no wonder Ximines is excited for the encounter.
“I try to take a little bit from everybody, not just Khalil,” Ximines said. “Ultimately everybody is their own person. Everybody works in their own way. So Khalil is gonna be Khalil, Oshane is gonna be Oshane. I have to figure out what works for me and maybe take a little piece from his game that can help me out. Maybe we have a similar [situation on the field], see how he gets by that and try to apply that to myself a little bit.”
This will be Ximines’ second preseason game. His first last week wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn't necessarily a standout performance.
“I saw a 22-year-old out there in their first NFL game,” he said after watching the film. “I was jittery. I did a lot of things I didn’t have to. I took a lot of false steps. But I was so excited. Sometimes you just have to relax, man, and just play ball. After seeing how the speed was last week and watching film and making other corrections, I’m excited about going in there Friday and getting a little bit better.”
The biggest thing he wants to improve on?
“Just going,” he said. “When I try to think too much on my rush plan or try to be too perfect, that’s when [it doesn’t work]. There’s not a lot of time to get back there. You have to go. My first step and trying to get the edge as quick as possible is a thing I’m focusing on going into this week.”
That, and meeting Mack. Ximines said he was so focused on watching the player he has admired for so long that he hadn’t even thought about approaching him and talking to him before the game. Like a good pass rush, though, he’ll have to go into it with a plan, read the situation, and, ultimately, as he said, just go.
“I’m forever humble,” he said. “If somebody has an opportunity or some knowledge they can give me to help my game, I’m all ears. I don’t mind putting down my pride to go talk to somebody and learn something. I don’t feel like it’s weird going to talk to him or ask him a question. But I’m gonna feel it out. If he doesn’t really want to talk, I’m gonna kick back. But we’ll see what happens.”