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Recently I spent some time sharing my thoughts on who would win certain awards in 2013 including coach of the year, rookies of the year, and others. You can read more about those winners HERE.
As I was researching my pick for Defensive Player of the Year, I realized that 2013 could be a year in which Aldon Smith sets a seemingly unbreakable record: 30 sacks in one season.
Just reading that statement seems like a bunch of crazy talk.
The record is currently only ¾ of that total and Smith would have to add 11 sacks to the 19 he had last year and would need more than double his output as a rookie (of 14). So expecting anything close to 30 sacks seems almost like a pipe dream that could never come true.
If we take a closer look at the schedule that the 49ers face in 2013, I think I might start to make believers out of some of you; and if I don’t, Smith’s production this season will.
The 49ers play six games against their division, the AFC South, the NFC South, Green Bay, and Washington. While their schedule will give them some tough opponents, it will also provide Smith the opportunity he needs to make history.
Four of their 16 games come against the three teams that allowed the most sacks in the league last year; an astounding 54.25 sacks per season (almost 3.4 per game) between the four teams. The other 12 games average out to 32.75 sacks per season or just over a pair per game. Over the course of the year, Smith is going to have a great chance at taking down QBs.
Smith should easily lead his team in sacks as he did last year. Smith had half of the 49ers' 38 sacks last season and that came even though he was injured for the last few games of the regular season. Now that he is back to full health, the sky is the limit.
If we only went by averages, the teams the 49ers play would allow 38 sacks to the 49ers (an every other team in the league) and Smith would take half of them, or 19 again this year. But the 38 sacks the 49ers grabbed last year was done with an unhealthy Smith and against opponents that had slightly better offensive lines.
With a strong defense and an offense that can score very quickly, the 49ers should be closer to the top of the league this year in sacks. Last year the league leaders (Denver and St. Louis) both recorded 52 sacks. If the 49ers reached that total and Smith once again grabbed half of the team’s sacks, he would be at 26.
So while it might be a slight stretch to put Smith at 30 sacks, I think it is doable. We can only guess what his personal goals for the year are; but I would certainly assume breaking the sack record is one of them. Time will soon tell whether 30 sacks in a season can be done. If someone can do it, it’s Aldon Smith.