Does Clay Matthews Have a Chance To Break the NFL Single-Season Sack Record?

Michael AkelsonCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2010

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson has built a reputation for trading down in drafts and gathering as many picks as possible.

But during the 2009 NFL Draft he went against his philosophy.

After securing nose tackle B.J Raji with the ninth overall pick in the draft, Thompson saw something he wanted. And as all Packer fans know, when Ted Thompson sees something he wants, for better or worse, he's going to go out and get it.

Ted Thompson wanted USC outside linebacker Clay Matthews, and he gave New England a second-round pick and two third-round picks to get him.

Many people liked this pick on draft day, while others criticized the Packers for trading three picks to bring in the former Trojan.

Either way, Thompson felt the third-generation star would fit in nicely with the Packers new 3-4 scheme.

He was supposed to learn behind Packer Pro-Bowler Aaron Kampman, but Kampman struggled transitioning into the 3-4 defense and went down with a season-ending injury early in the season.

This paved the way for Matthews, who would take his starting job and never look back.

As the season progressed, so did the amount of playing time awarded to Matthews.

He finished the season with 10 sacks and a Pro-Bowl birth. He also finished it with a new respect from Packer fans.

The Lambeau faithful were eating this guy up.

He wasn't a high-motor player, he was an uberhigh-motor player. When he beats his lineman, he JETS towards the quarterback and often makes the poor QB run for his life.

This usually results in Clay running the opposing quarterback down, and putting a lickin' on him for a sack.

It's truly unbelievable to watch.

Although Matthews was amazing last year, many believed he'd suffer through the sophomore slump, or just be a very good, but not great pass-rusher.

Oh boy were we wrong.

Now just two games into the season Matthews has already strung together a mind-boggling six sacks, to go along with a multitude of other big plays this season.

You heard me, six sacks!

That's a good season for some guys. And Matthews has done it in two games.

That puts him on pace for 48 sacks this season. Now, I'm not suggesting he'll reach the 48 sack plateau, because that's clearly an unrealistic goal.

But you know what is a realistic goal, 22.5 sacks, or what some of you may know as, the single season sack record.

Think about it for a second. If he has six now, (three in each game) and is showing no signs of slowing up anytime soon, who's to say Matthews can't bring down the quarterback in the backfield 16.5 more times in the next 14 games?

It's really not unrealistic to think he can do it.

There seems to be nothing on Earth that can block him, and yes, he has faced double-teams.

Only time will tell whether or not Matthews is able to set the record, and there's still plenty of football to be played, but if the first two games of the season are a sign of things to come, then Matthews has a legitimate shot at this thing.

Either way, Matthews is in for one hell of a season, and one hell of a career.

It should be fun to watch unfold.