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NFL says injury data shows protections for quarterbacks are working

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The NFL has changed several rules in recent years designed to keep quarterbacks healthier. The league thinks it now has the evidence to show those rules are working.

According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com, starting quarterbacks missed a total of just 35 games in 2016, a significant reduction from the 59 games missed in 2015, 77 in 2014 and 76 in 2013. The league thinks that shows defensive players are learning not to hit quarterbacks illegally, and referees are focusing more on the safety of quarterbacks.

On the other hand, it could just be a statistical fluke. Titans starting quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a broken leg in Week 16 that caused him to miss one start, in Week 17. But if he had suffered that same injury in Week One, it could have ended his season and caused him to miss 15 starts. And Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr suffered a broken leg of his own in Week 16 that reportedly would have caused him to miss about eight games if it had come early in the season. Just change the timing of those two injuries, and the number of games missed by starting quarterbacks in 2016 could equal the number of games missed by starting quarterbacks in 2015.

So while it’s good news that fewer quarterbacks missed games, we’ll need a few more years of data before we can draw any real conclusions.

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22 Responses to “NFL says injury data shows protections for quarterbacks are working”
  1. footballisnotthatimportant says: Mar 27, 2017 6:31 AM

    Well, yes. I don’t doubt that there is a strong correlation between decreased QB injuries and the recent ban on hitting (sometimes even touching) QBs.

    Don’t you even thinking about inadvertently touching a QB’s helmet. You’ll probably face indefinite suspension or exile to the Land of Nod.

  2. A happy green parrot says: Mar 27, 2017 8:07 AM

    I think the article’s point about the timing of injuries was the main thing to consider. If the timing of just those two injuries was the difference in whether the numbers showed a drop or not then there really are no conclusions that can be reached as of yet. (Which the article also correctly points out)

  3. agbnewfoundlaw says: Mar 27, 2017 8:08 AM

    Yes, the protection is working..in driving down your ratings.

    I get they are the face of the franchise and teams with elite or near elite QBs have the best chances of winning a SB. However, seeing flags thrown because a QB walks into a defender and falls down and throws his hands up, or the ever fun defender gets pushed to the ground and accidentally rolls into their legs flag is making it hard to watch.

  4. fordman84 says: Mar 27, 2017 8:22 AM

    Are they counting at least 8 games for Romo? Or are they saying he was the backup all season?

  5. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Mar 27, 2017 8:25 AM

    any statistical analysis peddled by the nfl related to player safety can be safely ignored as they are proven liars.

  6. streetyson says: Mar 27, 2017 8:33 AM

    Well, if the NFL won’t punish the SheTalks or Pedsburgh Sqealers for lying on injury reports, how can the league trust injury data?

    Btw, I previously read on other mainstream sports media that Carr was taking off-label Forteo – it’s only supposed to be used on (i.e. FDA approved for) elderly female osteoporosis patients. But some athletes are taking it to heal fractures quicker. This off-label business got Maria Sharapova banned and would ban Carr and other NFL players from many modern sports, but Integrity Goodell just wishes Derek a speedy recovery!

  7. factschecker says: Mar 27, 2017 8:41 AM

    I get they are the face of the franchise and teams with elite or near elite QBs have the best chances of winning a SB.
    ———
    Technically the media forced that narrative to justify the “QB protection narrative”. It use to be if you don’t have a bell cow RB then you don’t have a shot to win it all. This use to be a RB driven league. Tom “5 rings” Brady (Goat!!) , Peyton Manning and Fanta$y Football have turned the NFL into a QB driven league.

    That’s how I saw it go down anyway. My personal observation.

  8. JSpicoli says: Mar 27, 2017 9:18 AM

    Do they factor in the slumping ratings and diminishing levels of interest in the sport?

  9. bannedfromchoirpractice says: Mar 27, 2017 9:24 AM

    On the other hand, it’s getting harder and harder to justify the price of a ticket to watch football players try and not lay a finger on each other.

  10. ncphinsfan says: Mar 27, 2017 9:40 AM

    Pass Interference and QB protection have changed the league, so Yes it is a QB League. Only 1 year the Ravens won a SB was the only time a Top QB was not in a SB. Even then Dilfer had a 76 QBR. You need balance. My opinion is a Top 10 Defense and Top 5 QB is the formula for annual SB success.

  11. nyneal says: Mar 27, 2017 9:57 AM

    The problem is, QB’s are playing longer now because they aren’t as banged up as they were in the past.
    So — there’s a greater chance of getting hurt by playing longer.

  12. skmad2014 says: Mar 27, 2017 10:00 AM

    Teddy Bridgewater and Tony Romo. That’s at least 24 more games to add to the count: Bridgewater 16, and at least 8 for Romo.

  13. jag1959 says: Mar 27, 2017 10:13 AM

    The rules getting changed to protect QB’s was a logical extension of the cap, we just didn’t see it at the time because it didn’t occur to anyone to focus on it. When owners have a disproportionate % of the cap tied up in a position where demand exceeds supply it isn’t hard to understand their willingness to sign off on rule changes to protect that investment

  14. A happy green parrot says: Mar 27, 2017 10:28 AM

    factschecker says:
    Mar 27, 2017 8:41 AM

    This use to be a RB driven league. Tom “5 rings” Brady (Goat!!) , Peyton Manning and Fanta$y Football have turned the NFL into a QB driven league.

    ————————–

    Although both those guys have always been the faces and centerpieces of their offenses, didnt both have a good running game, be it bell cow or quality committee, supporting them in their better years?

  15. factschecker says: Mar 27, 2017 10:31 AM

    Only 1 year the Ravens won a SB was the only time a Top QB was not in a SB.
    ——–
    A list of Non Top QB’s that were in the Super Bowl since

    Trent Dilfer vs Kerry Collins
    Brad Johnson
    Jake Delhomme
    Matt Hasselbeck
    Rex Grossman
    Joe Flacco vs Colin Keapernick
    Peyton Mannings final Super Bowl (9 TD’s 17 INT’s that Manning)

  16. jgedgar70 says: Mar 27, 2017 11:03 AM

    I’m guessing in compiling these stats, the NFL operated on the assumption that,

    A) Cam Newton is not a QB

    B) the NFL agrees with the ‘Bama fans that insist Cam got paid to play college ball despite no credible evidence, and that he is therefore the most evil human being to ever walk the Earth, and every time he gets clubbed in the head while standing in the pocket it is justified, and if one day Cam gets killed on the playing field they will use the ‘Bama “He needed killin’ ” defense.

    I’m going with B.

  17. granadafan says: Mar 27, 2017 11:08 AM

    Don’t forget Russell Wilson. Good QB but not top

  18. factschecker says: Mar 27, 2017 11:20 AM

    Although both those guys have always been the faces and centerpieces of their offenses, didnt both have a good running game, be it bell cow or quality committee, supporting them in their better years?
    —–
    Yeah I can agree with that but that’s not the point I was attempting to make. It use to be….

    If you don’t have a RB (300+ carries type of bell cow) then you don’t have a shot. Sure if you had Bell Cow RB and a halfway QB then it was even better. But now days it’s more marketed towards just the QB being paramount for post season success. A great defense and a solid running game was paramount. Now they market more towards, if you have a QB and a spread offense and have a defense that can stop a spread offense then you have a shot. If you don’t have that then don’t even think about it.

    You can still win the old fashion way (heck the freakin’ Jets went to back to back AFC Title games doing just that.) but the media acts like you have to have a QB. It helps to have a QB but you don’t have to have one. I certainly wouldn’t want to give up the farm to draft a QB that ends up setting my entire franchise back 5 or 8 years.

  19. sbh1cats says: Mar 27, 2017 12:47 PM

    Except for Cam Newton…
    Rarely called hits on him and now shoulder surgery

  20. bunglesandbears says: Mar 27, 2017 12:49 PM

    This is literally the worst injury breakdown I’ve ever seen.

    1. It shouldn’t be ‘games lost to injury’ it should be estimated injury recovery time.
    2. The data should go back 20 years to avoid Small Sample Size.
    3. List the type of injury.
    4. List QB names so the injuries can be verified.
    5. It shouldn’t be vague and useless.

    But the NFL has never succeeded in transparency .. so why start now.

  21. rschroeder1 says: Mar 27, 2017 1:30 PM

    The NFL makes arguments like your dumb uncle. Should we really believe, for example, that Derek Carr’s injury in Week 16, and resulting one game lost, is somehow better for the Raiders than if he got hurt in Week 9? Yes, I know, they would have a worse record. Are their Super Bowl chances any different either way?

  22. somethinghappeninghere says: Mar 27, 2017 2:04 PM

    Tell you what–since QB injuries tend to rely to much on crappy OLinemen subbing for good ones (for instance, Anthony Steen for Mike Pouncey), maybe what is necessary is for colleges to develop better centers and whatnot so that reallly good DLinemen like Calais Campbell won’t unwittingly take out a decent, not great but decent, QB. (And it is also interesting that Tannehill goes down when overall Miami had a better OL than they have had since 2012). Just another reason to have a decent back up like Matt Moore–and one wonders why the Pats want to hold on to Garapolo?

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