Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan set the NFL record for sacks in a single season with 22½ in 2001, and according to Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr 2017 is the year that his teammate Khalil Mack will break that record by exactly 7½ sacks. Last year Carr predicted Mack would record 30 sacks and he was off by just 19. If this NFL thing doesn’t pan out Derek still has a future with the Psychic Readers Network. As it turned out, Mack had four fewer sacks than in 2015 – though he was still named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the 2016 season, which comes to show it’s all about quantity and not quality.
“I’m still sticking with my 30 number. Because we know this is going to blow up, I’m gonna say 30,” Carr said. “That’s if he doesn’t get held … if they start calling the holdings, if they start calling them like they should — I’m saying 30.” Mack would have to post exactly as many sacks in a single season has he has in three years in the league, but the defensive end remains optimistic. “That’s the number I shoot for, but I didn’t want [Carr] to tell everybody else,” he told ESPN. “D.C., he knows how hard we work, what kind of work we put in, and he knows what I want. Realistically, we just want to get the record at least. At least.” Hopefully he does get, if only so that we can start calling him Khalil Sack.
Meanwhile, Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller channeled his inner Nathan Explosion to say that reaching the vaunted 30 sacks is “doable.” Miller’s place in the annals of American football betting history is cemented on his Super Bowl MVP performance in 2015, but you can tell he wants this as well just by how much thought he has put into it. “You’ve got to come out, you’ve got to get 10 in that first month,” he said. “You’ve got to get 10 in that first month, which is doable. You get two and a half, two and a half the next game and two and a half the next game after that. Then you might miss one game, and then you get two and a half, then you’ve got 10 in five games right there. Then if you go three, two, three, it’s definitely doable.”
But is it really, though? Since Strahan set the record in 2001, the 20-sack mark has only been broken by four men; DeMarcus Ware in 2008 (20), Jared Allen in 2011 (22), J. J. Watt in 2012 (20½), and Justin Houston in 2014 (22). Vic Beasley was the 2016 sacks leader with 15½, which is to say only slightly more than half of Carr’s prediction. As Around the NFL writer Conor Orr writes, “quarterbacks get rid of the football faster and are blanketed by more sophisticated protection schemes” than a decade ago. The fact that not one but two players could theoretically get even near 30 already staggers the mind.