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This tweet, sent out on Monday by Jimmy Kempski, caught my eye:

Entering last season, the Cowboys had Greg Hardy (34 career sacks prior to 2015) and Jeremy Mincey (26).  Both players are now free agents, although it is possible one or both returns to Dallas in 2016.  But if the Cowboys don’t add anyone, that would mean inside linebacker Rolando McClain — who has 9.5 career sacks — would be the Cowboy with the most career sacks. The same goes for cornerback Orlando Scandrick, also stuck on 9.5

How unusual is that? This tweet caught my eye because while it is easy to check historical comparisons, I had no clue how frequently this sort of thing occurs. As it turns out, not very: the last time a team didn’t have at least one player on their roster with double-digit sacks entering that season was the 1990 Jets.  After Marty Lyons retired following the ’89 season, utility lineman Gerald Nichols and his 8 career sacks was the most established pass rusher for New York. But in ’90, Dennis Byrd broke out with a 13-sack season.

Since then, two other teams had no players with more than ten sacks entering the season. The 2003 Cardinals entered the year with middle linebacker Ronald McKinnon and his 10 career sacks as the most accomplished sack artist.  That season, no Cardinal had more than three sacks, and Arizona finished with just 21 as a defense.  Two years later, Keith Bulluck and his 10 career sacks paced the way for the ’05 Titans; fortunately for Tennessee, Kyle Vanden Bosch turned into a Pro Bowl defensive lineman and had 12.5 sacks.

Last year, the San Diego Chargers were the only team to begin the season without a player who had at least 20 career sacks (Corey Liuget was the leader with just 18).

Anyway, I’m short on time, so just a quick trivia dump today.

  • Alejandro

    I’m just curious, is there any way one could query something like this using PFR’s Play Index? Like the lowest sack leader of the 2000s or the least receiving yards by a team’s receiving leader?