Rosters have dropped to 53, and vaccination rates reportedly have not.
Via Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the vaccination “has remained around 93 percent” following the roster cuts. Maske calls it “consistent” with the league-wide rate prior to the latest reductions.
There’s one important factor to consider in this regard. The league includes the practice squads in calculating vaccination rates. That total number is up to 69, not 53. With most members of the practice squad among the bottom-of-roster guys who already realized that they needed to be vaccinated to have a shot of making the team, the vaccination rate among practice squad members is likely 100 percent or close to it.
The 53-man vaccination rate is a different issue. The most important number becomes the team-by-team rate among starters. That’s where trouble can arise for teams that, for example, have a starting quarterback who isn’t vaccinated. One false move, and out goes the starter for one or more games.
Indeed, the vast majority of the unvaccinated players at this point undoubtedly come from the segment of the roster that is safe. So if the league-wide unvaccinated average sits at seven percent of 69, what’s the rate among 22?
On average, five players per team aren’t vaccinated. (Some are lower, some are higher.) If those players are all starters, that’s nearly 23 percent of the league-wide starting lineups.
And that number is a heck of a lot more revealing, and troubling, that seven percent.