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Not Everyone Is Playing Safe with their Quarterback

NFL teams are a bunch of copycats. The Green Bay Packers were among the first teams to start limiting the playing time of its starting quarterback during preseason. Now most teams are doing so, though about a quarter of them have yet to get on the bandwagon.

Aaron Rodgers is said to have concluded his preseason game work with just the one outing against the 49ers, in which he completed six of nine throws for 60 yards and a touchdown – good for a 122.5 quarterback rating.

The only other quarterback clearly forecast as a starter who’s had fewer preseason throws is the Cowboys’ Tony Romo – and that’s because he was seriously injured after only six preseason throws. Others who’ve attempted fewer than 20 passes at this point include San Diego’s Philip Rivers (12), Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton (14), Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (16), and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (17).

At the other end of the spectrum, there are several first-string quarterbacks who – along with their head coaches – are still, so to speak, throwing caution to the wind:

Ryan Tannehill (MIA) – 53 throws, 34 completions, 325 yards
Cam Newton (CAR) – 47 throws, 26 completions, 298 yards
Alex Smith (KC) – 46 throws, 32 completions, 354 yards
Jameis Winston (TB) – 44 throws, 26 completions, 384 yards
Sam Bradford (PHI) – 40 throws, 32 completions, 285 yards
Matt Stafford (DET) – 40 throws, 26 completions, 266 yards
Brock Osweiler (HOU) – 39 throws, 27 completions, 297 yards
Russell Wilson (SEA) – 38 throws, 24 completions, 303 yards
Derek Karr (OAK) – 38 throws, 24 completions, 251 yards
Matt Ryan (ATL) – 37 throws, 18 completions, 207 yards

Though the Cowboys’ Tony Romo had been used sparingly, after only six preseason throws his luck ran out on Friday. While scrambling from the pocket, he was hit from behind by the Seahawks’ Cliff Avril, as he began, too late, to slide to the turf. The injury, described as a compression fracture of his L1 vertebrae, will keep him out of action for at least half of the regular season.

Seahawks’ Coach Pete Carroll, well known for liberally playing his starters in the preseason, has so far gotten away with it this year. Quarterback Russell Wilson has played in all three preseason games. In Week 2, however, he was sacked four times for a cumulative loss of 41 yards, while only managing five completions. Some of these takedowns by the Vikings defense, were very violent.

Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor also was hurt on Friday. In two series, he was sacked once, and then took a hard hit on another play. Coach Rex Ryan later admitted, “Looks like a stupid decision to play him, because I never expected him to get hit.”

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Empacador August 31, 2016

    Rex Ryan didn’t think his QB would get hit. No wonder the Jets and Bills suck year after year. Maybe Cleveland can complete the trifecta and hire Rex when he gets shitcanned from Buffalo. There are position and assistant coaches more qualified to be a head coach than this guy.

  2. PF4L August 31, 2016

    Rob, Rob, Rob……How could you not include my (our?) favorite QB not wearing a Packer uniform?

    I’m speaking of one …CUTTY!! Let me help if i may…..

    Mr. Cutty has currently lit up the pre-season with 17 completions on 31 attempts for a total of 145 yards, and no scores. Including a whopping 54.8 completion percentage, along with his passer rating of 67.4.

    As Brandon Marshall once stated, this man has an MVP season in his future, and i’ll enjoy watching every second of it as i have for years. Long live Jay Cutler. BEAR DOWN!!

    GO CUTTY!!