Phillips' personal quest, Titans' pressing need a perfect match

Shaun Phillips has a number in mind.

The free agent linebacker wants to reach a certain milestone for sacks before he calls it a career. He’s not so focused on that target, though, that he is willing to ignore other numbers.

“I’m a football player,” Phillips said Tuesday. “I’ve got quite a bit of picks for my position. Quite a bit tackles. Forced fumbles. So I like to fill up the stat sheet.

“But the more I get a chance to get after the quarterback, yes, the happier I am. But I think our team could benefit from having me because I like to think of myself as a well-rounded player.”

The moment he signed a two-year, $6 million deal last month he became the Tennessee Titans’ most accomplished pass rusher.

His 79.5 career sacks are easily are more than any player on the current roster. He had 10 last season with Denver, his first with that team. The rest came in nine years at San Diego. Only once since his rookie season has had had fewer than seven.

The top career sack totals for players on the current Tennessee Titans roster:

Shaun Phillips, linebacker – 79.5
Kamerion Wimbley, linebacker – 51.5
Derrick Morgan, defensive end – 16.5
Jurrell Casey, defensive tackle – 16.0
Karl Klug, defensive tackle – 12.5
Zach Brown, linebacker – 9.5
Akeem Ayers, linebacker – 9.0

Phillips also forced two fumbles, intercepted one pass and broke up five others as the Broncos rolled to the AFC’s best record in 2013. It was the sixth time he forced more than one fumble in a season (his career-high is seven) and the seventh interception of his career.

He has averaged 3.5 tackles in 152 contests.

Regardless of what else he can do, though, the Titans need him to get to the quarterback. They finished 20th in the NFL last season in sacks per pass play and their 36 total were 4.5 below the league average.

Based on the numbers he has and the one he wants, Phillips is more than happy to help in that regard.

“I enjoy getting after the quarterback,” he said. “One of things that I want to do, one of the goals I set out for, personally, is I wanted to retire with 100 sacks.

“… I’ll take it how they come. If I can get 20 in a year, that would be great. If it doesn’t happen, I’m just going out and I’m going to play the best football of my career this year and that’s all I can ask for.”