Here are four reasons why the NFL needs to do whatever it takes to protect the quarterback. They are Nick Foles, Byron Leftwich, Colin Kaepernick and Jason Campbell.
All of them are playing because their team’s starters are out with injuries. Foles and Leftwich have already looked bad in losing their games. Kaepernick and Campbell face each other Monday night so one of them has to win.
The quarterback may not be the most important player at every level of football, but he is in the NFL. Teams can not win without a good one. Because of this, every team in the league is one injury away from having their entire season go out of the window.
On Sunday, Foles started against the Washington Redskins for injured Philadelphia Eagles starter Michael Vick. Though Vick was not having a great year and the Eagles were 3-6, he gave them the best chance to win. Without him, Philadelphia was run out of FedEx Field by the Redskins 31-6. Foles had a terrible day with no touchdown passes . A Washington team that had lost four straight games made mincemeat out of the Eagles.
The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their starter, Ben Roethlisberger in a Monday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Leftwich started Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh only scored 10 points and lost at home for the first time this season. Leftwich threw for 201 yards and was intercepted once.
Kaepernick is playing in the place of injured San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Campbell is replacing Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears. Kaepernick will be making his first NFL start. Campbell has started games for the Redskins and Oakland Raiders. Neither is on a par with Smith and Cutler. This means a marquee matchup between two first place teams will not be as good as it should be.
We hear it all of the time from players and fans as to how quarterbacks get too much protection. Hits that were once legal are now being penalized. No longer can a pass rusher hit a quarterback with the crown of his helmet or slam him to the ground. Defenders must stay away from the quarterback’s knees. If a quarterback becomes a runner and slides before contact he can not be touched.
All of this has caused griping around the league. Everyone hates the rules until their quarterback is lost for the season. Then they understand how important they are. All one has to do is ask everyone in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Chicago how they feel about their quarterback situations right now.
Yes, every player in the NFL should be protected. It is a rough game played by big men. Injuries are going to happen and the league should do everything in its power to prevent them.
And the quarterback should be protected at all costs. Teams can lose players at other positions and find a way to win. The Ravens are doing this right now as they are 8-2. But when a team loses its quarterback it has a huge impact on the entire squad.
If you do not think so, just watch how the performances of Foles, Leftwich, Kaepernick and Campbell hinder their teams.