NFL Looking into Possible New Rules to Protect QBs

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2013

Getty Images

Despite NFL quarterbacks being better protected now than they ever have been, it hasn't stopped some of the league's top signal-callers from landing on the injured list. With that in mind, the NFL is considering taking further steps to ensure that its passers remain healthy moving forward.

According to Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press, the recent rash of quarterback injuries has caused the league to ponder what more it can do to keep its most precious assets on the field. The NFL intends to review video during the offseason, and it's possible that it could lead to even more rule changes that favor that quarterback position.

Quarterbacks are already at a significant advantage in comparison to other positions since defenders have a very small strike zone at which to aim when hitting. Still, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino admitted that the league may look into making life even more difficult for defenders than it already is.

Should he always get protection from low hits or head hits, regardless of the posture he's presenting? Part of the conversation will be: Should that protection be expanded to all times when the quarterback has the ball in the pocket?

It's tough to blame the NFL for taking this type of stance considering that most of the league's top stars play quarterback. Further, the product experiences a significant drop-off when an elite passer is replaced with a backup.

That was apparent when the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers faced each other on Monday Night Football in Week 9. The Bears started Josh McCown over the injured Jay Cutler, while Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had to leave the game early, which led to Seneca Wallace playing most of the contest.

There is no conceivable way for the NFL to ensure that top quarterbacks like Cutler and Rodgers remain healthy, especially since they weren't the victims of malicious hits when they got injured in the first place.

In fact, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon doesn't believe there is much more the league can do to protect passers.

No question, I wish we were protected better. ... It's a lot safer, because some of the hits we took back in the day - they could still drive us into the turf when they hit us. Those really were painful. Didn't always cause an injury, but made you a little more antsy about taking hits. The guys these days don't really have to put up with it. I don't think there's much more you can do. It's as good as it's going to get, unless you put flags on them.

According to Fendrich, quarterback injuries are up significantly this season. In fact, the nine signal-callers on injured reserve through 10 weeks are the second most over the past 15 years.

While it's hard to ignore the facts, what more can be done to protect QBs? If new rules are added, how will it affect the game? 


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter