The NFL has acknowledged that it strictly enforces the roughing the passer rule in order to protect the health of quarterbacks, as they are essential to the success and popularity of the game.
Despite these efforts, the Arizona Cardinals’ decision to start David Blough over Trace McSorley in their upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons means that the NFL will have had 64 different starting quarterbacks through 17 weeks of the season. This ties the non-strike season record set in 2007.
There are 11 teams in the NFL that have had only one starting quarterback for the entire season: the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Seattle Seahawks.
However, some teams have made changes to their starting quarterbacks due to a variety of reasons, including injuries, suspensions, and business decisions.
For example, the Cleveland Browns switched from Jacoby Brissett to Deshaun Watson after Watson’s suspension ended. The Indianapolis Colts made business decisions involving Matt Ryan on two occasions, and the Las Vegas Raiders recently made a business decision regarding Derek Carr. Additionally, the Pittsburgh Steelers benched Mitch Trubisky, and the Atlanta Falcons benched Marcus Mariota.
Injuries have been a major factor in the number of starting quarterbacks that have missed games this season. Several teams have had to rely on backups due to these injuries, and some teams have even had to start their third or fourth-string quarterbacks.
Nine teams have started three different quarterbacks so far this season: the San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, and Houston Texans.
The playoff picture for several teams is uncertain due to the potential for their top quarterbacks to be unavailable due to injury.
The San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, and Miami Dolphins may all face challenges if they qualify for the playoffs and their top quarterbacks are unable to play.