Week 7 was bad. Injuries seemed to be everywhere as big-name players dropped all over, some for the season. Week 8 looks better superficially, but there's just as many injuries, if not quite as many big names. Like I always say, there's no bye week for injuries.
The bye week doesn't apply for the medical staffs of teams, either. Teams are on bye in bunches in Weeks 8 and 9, but by Week 10, the last of them will get their "week off." It just doesn't happen. The players get a couple days, but the medical staff is in early, making sure that rehabs are on schedule and that the week of rest is really rest. I spoke with one assistant trainer for a team off this week who planted himself in front of the weight room door so that players wouldn't spend hours in there when they were supposed to be resting.
I often jokingly say that it would be easier if NFL players were considered a different species. They look like the rest of us, but they're not really like us at all. Things like this, where rest becomes only four hours in the weight room instead of six, makes me remember that I'm not really joking. You might watch a lot of football, but Peyton Manning is in the film room more than you. (Eli, too.)
The NFL requires an inhuman commitment, one that excludes almost everything else. Family? Vacation? Common sense? All pushed aside in season in search of one goal. They all want to push themselves further, to play three or four more games than everyone else and hold together just long enough to get a ring. Everything else is secondary, and I do mean everything.
When it comes to injuries and injury management, that attitude is the underlying bedrock. It's never going to go to zero because of the structure of the game and the attitude that's built up on top of that. No one, no rule, no fine is going to change that, but there's plenty of room for improvement. For now, let's look around the league.