The NFL has admitted that it aggressively enforces the rule against “roughing the passer” to ensure the quarterback’s health because it’s the quarterbacks that make the games exciting — and in turn, generate television viewership.
Despite those efforts, the Cardinals’ decision to field the well-travelled David “Mister Plow” Blough in place of Trace McSorley against the Falcons on Sunday means the NFL is 17 weeks away 64 different quarterbacks in the starting lineup had. As noted by ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, that breaks the record set in 2007.
Eleven teams had only one starting quarterback all year: the Bills, Bengals, Jaguars, Chiefs, Chargers, Giants, Vikings, Packers, Lions, Buccaneers, and Seahawks.
It’s not just about injuries. The Browns traded from Jacoby Brissett to Deshaun Watson after Watson’s suspension expired. The Colts made a business decision regarding Matt Ryan (twice), and the Raiders recently made a business decision regarding Derek Carr. Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky was benched, as was Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota.
However, most week one starters who missed a game or games did so because of injuries. And several teams had their backups injured too. The Cardinals now have their fourth starter. Nine teams fielded three different quarterbacks: the 49ers, Titans, Jets, Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Rams, Panthers, and Texans.
No, that’s not ideal for the NFL. The next question is whether teams will have their best quarterbacks to fall back on in the postseason.