For years, NFL coaches have used injury as cover for playing the guys they want to play. It was, for example, the “100 percent rule” that kept Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson on the bench indefinitely in 1998 while Randall Cunningham was having a season for the ages, even though Johnson’s Week Two broken leg had fully healed.
Today, the unprecedented sensitivity to concussions gives teams another tool for managing lineups while minimizing controversy, especially as it relates to quarterbacks.
Though there’s no smoking gun (yet) to suggest that teams are using it, in a sport where every decision has a strategic component, it would be naive to assume that teams won’t hide behind concussion symptoms in order to bench players without really benching them — or to keep players on the bench without creating the impression of indecision or a revolving door. And it would be even more naive to assume it hasn’t already happened.
It’s a subject we tackled on Tuesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk. If you missed it, you can watch it below.
Perhaps most significantly, it’s one of the few times that Ross Tucker and I completely agree on anything.