Aaron Rodgers. Deshaun Watson. Ryan Tannehill. Jay Cutler. Jameis Winston. Tyrod Taylor. Carson Palmer. Carson Wentz. Sam Bradford. Paxton Lynch. C.J. Beathard. Josh McCown. All of the previously listed signal callers share the unfortunate distinction of having been injured this past season. Some have missed a few games while others have suffered year-ending injuries. This list doesn’t include Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford or Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott who both suffered injuries to their throwing hands which they were able to play through. Quarterback injuries is an epidemic with seemingly no answer. In the words of Hall of Fame head coach Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out here?!”
The level of attrition at the quarterback position this season has been unbelievable, with overall injuries seemingly at numbers never seen before (just ask the New York Giants or Houston Texans). That being said, the number of quarterback injuries this season has been off the charts. This by no means makes light of the injuries suffered by other players as they are just as significant and impactful to their families and teams. That means Ryan Shazier, Zach Miller, and Whitney Mercilus just to name a few. All of you guys are in our thoughts and prayers that you have full and speedy recoveries.
Even so, the NFL glamour position of quarterback has seen its ranks depleted by injury at a frightening pace. The carnage got started with Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill requiring knee surgery in August, robbing him of the 2017 season. During the weeks in between, we witnessed Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford go down with significant injuries. Then came week 14 when Philadelphia Eagles MVP candidate Carson Wentz succumb to a torn ACL. This isn’t even all the quarterback injuries that have occurred.
These injuries have illuminated just how important and critical competent quarterback play is to the success of a team. For instance, the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals have gone from near locks for the postseason to fighting for their playoff lives. After being flagged multiple times for hits on the quarterback while battling the New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady, retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis facetiously said, “Isn’t he a man? Maybe they should put a dress on him.” While certainly not to that extent, perhaps there should be some consideration given to what more can be done to protect quarterbacks and sparing them from the potential of devastating injury.
This is the game of football and it is most definitely a contact sport. As such, some injuries are literally unavoidable while others are just freak occurrences. Last year, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a devastating knee injury during a practice on a non-contact play. This year DeShaun Watson was also the victim of injury on a non-contact play, so yes, injuries can, do and will happen.
Is it because NFL players are getting even faster and stronger? The answer to both questions is yes. While defensive players certainly won’t like reading this next statement, perhaps more needs to be done to protect the quarterback to reduce the chance of his being injured. Fans, players and especially quarterbacks of the present and future would like to see something done to curb the tide and bring the quarterback injury merry-go-round to a screeching halt.