RACK­ING UP RECORD SACKS

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Kos­mider

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.

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