NFL legend Tom Brady offered up a very surprising take on the shocking epidemic of offensive star players — especially quarterbacks — suffering season-ending injuries in 2023 and claims the players and their teams are to blame, not the defenses pursuing them.
Injuries are a normal work hazard for every player in the NFL and every season features well-known talents suffering major injuries that knock them out of several games or the entire season. However, it has gotten a bit crazy this season when it comes to quarterbacks specifically racking up a ton of serious injuries.
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This season alone, Aaron Rodgers, Anthony Richardson, Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, Joe Burrow, and Daniel Jones have all incurred season-ending injuries. Fellow starters and veteran quarterbacks Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Bryce Young, Justin Fields, Tyrod Taylor, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Ryan Tannehill have also missed games this season due to a variety of ailments.
For a league that so heavily relies on and evolves around starting quarterbacks, it is a scary development when considering that the NFL has altered the rules and style of play to significantly limit defenses in an attempt to keep signal-callers healthy.
However, one of the greatest QBs of all time believes that the players and teams are to blame for the injury outbreak because they are not doing more to protect themselves instead of having the NFL do it for them.
Tom Brady on recent QB injuries: ‘Why don’t coaches talk to their player about how to protect himself?’
During a Monday appearance on “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” Brady spoke about a league-wide decline in scoring and performance this season, and how the injuries to QBs may have an effect on that. Yet, while he did admit to the inherent dangers in the game due to its physicality, he also claimed players on offense need to stop blaming the defense for the injuries they get and look in the mirror.
“You hear coaches complaining about their own player being tackled and not necessarily — why don’t they talk to their player about how to protect himself?” Brady said (via ESPN). “… We used to work on the fundamentals of those things all the time. Now they’re trying to be regulated all the time.
“Offensive players need to protect themselves. It’s not up to a defensive player to protect an offensive player. A defensive player needs to protect himself,” he added. “… I think a lot of the way that the rules have come into play have allowed this — you can essentially play carefree and then if anyone hits you hard, there’s a penalty.”
While he believes things can be fixed by players and coaches in the NFL, he also feels the bad habit is starting for many players before they even reach the highest level, where the game gets faster and more physical.
“I actually think college players were better prepared when I came out than they are now,” he said. “Just because so many coaches are changing programs, and I would say there’s not even a lot of college programs anymore. There’s a lot of college teams, but not programs that are developing players.
“So as they get delivered to the NFL, they may be athletic, but they don’t have much of the skills developed to be a professional,” Brady claims. “When I played at Michigan, I essentially played at a college program that was very similar to a pro-environment. When I see these different players come in, they’re not quite as prepared as they were, and I think the game has shown that over the last 12 to 13 years.”