Thursday, June 7, 2012
Select company for the Rams' Chris Long
By Mike Sando
Chris Long didn't obsess over joining the double-digit sack club, but the milestone was important to him.
The St. Louis Rams' defensive end finished an otherwise forgettable 2011 season with 13 sacks, easily a career high. That he did so for a 2-14 team also seemed notable.
The subject came to mind Thursday amid NFC West chat questions regarding various defensive lines in the division. Long and 2011 first-round pick Robert Quinn have the talent to challenge their NFC West rivals for most sacks by a pass-rushing tandem.
Long joined Cortez Kennedy as the only players in the sack era (since 1982) with 13-plus sacks for a team with two or fewer victories. Kennedy was the NFL's defensive player of the year with 14 sacks in 1992, when Seattle also went 2-14.
Kennedy's achievement was additionally notable because he played defensive tackle. Long, the Rams' starting left end, was not as dominant overall. But like Kennedy, he racked up sacks playing for a team that generated favorable pass-rushing situations less frequently.
The Rams scored only 175 points last season, the sixth-lowest total in a non-strike season since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978. Kennedy's Seahawks set the record low with 140 points.
Thirty non-strike teams have gone 2-14 or worse since the NFL made sacks an official statistic in 1982. Twenty-two won two games, eight won one and the 2008 Detroit Lions won zero.
The chart draws from information available at Pro Football Reference. It shows players with double-digit sacks for non-strike teams finishing 2-14 or worse. This isn't the sort of list any player aspires to, but if a player is going to suffer through a rough season from a team standpoint, he might as well make the most of it.