Every year, it’s fun to track players pursuing records set in past eras. This year, three particular records could be up for grabs. Let’s break it down…
Single-season passing yards
Record holder: Dan Marino, 5,084 yards
Potential record breakers: Philip Rivers, Drew Brees
This is a record that has received quite a few threats in recent seasons. Brees came the closest in 2008, when he fell just 15 yards short of the mark. But Rivers is the guy we’re really watching this year. In 2010, he had 4,710 yards (10th on the all-time list) despite rarely having his top three targets together. Now, with Malcom Floyd back and Vincent Jackson happy and Antonio Gates fairly healthy, Rivers could make history. And don’t rule out Brees if the Saints can get the running game going to keep defenses honest.
Record holder: Michael Strahan, 22.5 sacks
Potential record breakers: Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware
Ware had 20 sacks in 2008 and led the league again with 15.5 last year. But there’s no indication he’s going to take another leap forward, so it’ll be a tough task for him. But Matthews had 13.5 sacks despite being hampered by a shin injury for much of the season and even missing a game. He’s just entering his prime at 25 and could get even more opportunities to hit the quarterback with Cullen Jenkins gone.
Single-season receiving yards
Record holder: Jerry Rice, 1,848 yards
Potential record breakers: Mike Wallace, Roddy White
White was second in the league with 1,389 yards last year, but he could be even better with defenses having to divide their focus to account for Julio Jones in 2011. Plus, Matt Ryan is only getting better. Wallace is only 25, the fastest player in football and is entering his first full year as a starter with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback from the get-go. He had a ridiculous 1,257 yards on only 60 catches last year. If he can become a more active target, his yardage numbers will keep climbing. And Wallace is aiming high — he wants 2,000 yards in 2011.