ST. LOUIS — If there is someone on the St. Louis Rams’ defensive line who can dethrone the team’s king of sacks (Chris Long), it is most likely the man who lines up on his opposite side (Robert Quinn).
Quinn, a right defensive end, finished 2012 with 10.5 sacks, just one behind Long’s total. Together, the two spearheaded an effort that led to the Rams tying with Denver for most sacks (52) in the NFL.
Quinn declined to provide an exact goal for 2013, but he was gracious enough to spend some time talking sacks with FOXSportsMidwest.com this week.
After 10.5 sacks last season, how many do you think you can get this year?
“I think if you set a number on it, say 10, and I fall short with eight or nine, you’re going to be disappointed in yourself. If you want to set a number, you set it extremely high, so it’s impossible to reach. When you fall short, you know, it’s pretty reasonable. However many you end up with at the end of the season — that’s how many you can get.”
“Sacks aren’t easy to come by. Everything has to go right. You have to beat the offensive lineman. Coverage has to be there. Pressure has to be there. It’s a whole, total defensive team thing that goes into one sack.”
Are there reasons your sack total should increase this season?
“I definitely hope so. I’ve got to go back to the offense. The more they put up points, the more leads going into the fourth quarters, the more we can put our ears back.
“On the defensive line, for whoever gets a one-on-one, it’s going to be tough for an offense to pick and choose what they want to do. Because we are so dynamic. There are so many playmakers out there. I definitely think the numbers can increase, not just for me, but for the whole defensive line.”
Is there a sense of competition between you and Long?
“There’s friendly competition. I’m a competitor, but I’m not going to go down someone’s throat. I’m laid back. I just want to get my job done. Of course, both of us — and the whole defensive line — want to put up great numbers, especially in sack totals. If we do that, I’m sure we will be happy.”
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith has said he thinks Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5 sacks can be broken. Do you think it’s unbreakable?
“No. Look at Aldon. He had 19, I think (19.5), and the last six or seven games he didn’t have a sack. Imagine if he would have had three or four games with a sack, or half a sack. The record would be down that easy.
J.J. Watt was two and a half off (two off, with 20.5), and he was playing basically a three technique. … They’ve been pushing it. People always talk about the (Brett) Favre flop. I’m sure one quarterback might do that if someone pushes it. But all respect to Strahan. His numbers are still set in stone — until someone breaks it. I guess we’ve got to push to that limit.” Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at email@example.com.