NFL Network analyst Peter Schrager believes one of the most prestigious records in league history will be shattered in 2019.
Check it out:
"I think @FiftyDeuce has a shot to not only lead the league in sacks, but potentially break 22.5." 👀
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 14, 2019
Schrager believes Bears pass-rusher Khalil Mack will eclipse Michael Strahan’s sack record this season. And to do it, he’ll need to collect 23 sacks to beat Strahan’s 22.5 set in 2001 (en route to the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award). Just leave it to Ted Monachino, Mack’s position coach, to put it into motion:
“It’s not just his prideful selfishness. That’s OK because if Khalil told me his goal was to have 24 sacks, wouldn’t that be good for all of us? That would be good for all of us,” Outside Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino said, via The Athletic’s Adam Jahns. “We’re not going to try to suppress that at all. We’re going to try to get him to that. If that’s what he wants, that’s what we’re going to try to get him to.”
Monachino knows that Mack reaching that individual goal will necessarily mean good things for the Bears. If Mack continues to be dominant force capable of shifting the balance of power within the NFC North, then Chicago’s team (as a whole) will benefit from his excellence. It really isn’t a difficult concept to comprehend.
But what really makes the idea of Mack racking up record-breaking numbers is that Monachino actually dose have an idea what a dominant pass-rushing force can do for an entire defensive unit. Remember, Monachino was Terrell Suggs’ position coach when Suggs earned the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2011. That year, Suggs set new career-bests with 14 sacks, 23 quarterback hits, 20 tackles-for-loss, and 7 forced fumbles. Suggs was a leader on a defense that allowed the third fewest yards and third fewest points, while checking in as No. 1 in DVOA, Football Outsiders’ defensive ratings.
Mack nearly doubling his sack total might feel a bit far-fetched, but what if it isn’t? Aaron Donald collected 20.5 sacks in 2018 after picking up 19 in 30 games the previous *two* years. In 2014, Justin Houston came one-half sack from tying Strahan’s record, picking up 22 sacks one year after racking up 11 sacks. Jared Allen also doubled his sack total when he went from 11 sacks in 2010 to 22 in 2011. Much like Allen, Houston, and Donald before him, Mack is in his athletic prime. But because he is surrounded by Pro Bowlers, All-Pros, and stars on the rise, dreaming of a record-breaking sack season isn’t some pipe dream. In fact, the idea of a motivated Mack coming for quarterbacks and the record-books is probably a nightmare for offenses across the league.
Good luck stopping that guy. You’re gonna need it.