RACKING UP RECORD SACKS
Von Miller believes 30 sacks in one season is possible in this time of pass-rushing stars.
Khalil Mack, the standout Oakland Raiders pass rusher and reigning defensive player of the year, created a fervor recently when he threw out an eye-popping goal for his sack total this season.
The way Mack sees it, he could tally 30 sacks in 2017. That’s what he told Peter King of MMQB.com this week. Never mind that the NFL record, set by Michael Strahan in 2001, is 22K sacks and that Mack has never had more than 15 sacks in a season.
Count Mack’s AFC West counterpart, the Broncos’ Von Miller, as one player who thinks 30 sacks is a reachable mark in this age of pass-rushing stars.
“I think it is,” Miller said Wednesday when asked if such a lofty number was realistic. “You’ve got to come out and get 10 in that first month, which is doable. You get 2½ and then get 2½ the next game and 2½ the game after that. You might miss a game and then you get 2½ again and you have 10 in five games. Then you get three, two, three. It’s definitely doable.”
Miller, who holds the Broncos’ single-season record for sacks with 18K in 2012, said setting a new standard comes down to making the math work in a pass rusher’s favor. With running backs and tight ends constantly chipping dangerous edge rushers, Miller estimates he gets five “open” rushes — a one-on-one matchup with a tackle on a passing down — per game.
“If you get five open rushes, you have to win all five of those rushes,” Miller said. “Out of those five, you might get two or three sacks out of those. That’s the math that I have on it. Out of those five plays, you have to get home on all of those plays.”
Miller may face even more attention from offenses than usual, particularly early in the season. Between the retirement of DeMarcus Ware and injuries to outside linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray, Denver finds itself thin in pass-rushing stable.
It probably means the Broncos will be careful with Miller during the preseason.