Aaron Rodgers, one of the three biggest names in the NFL, went down yesterday and may be out for the rest of the year. Andrew Luck still hasn’t suited up yet. Sam Bradford lit things up in week 1 but has been battling knee issues since. Several teams have made changes out of necessity or desperation.
But even though some prominent names will be out, 2017 looks exactly like pretty much every other year when taking a broader view. Quarterbacks get hurt, quarterbacks get benched, and teams battling those injuries or ineffectiveness often struggle.
To see if 2017 has been any different, I used the Pro Football Reference Game Finder to find all games where a QB threw at least 15 passes through week 6, and compared it to prior seasons.
Entering tonight’s game, 41 different QBs have thrown at least 15 passes in one game, including now Brett Hundley for the Green Bay Packers and Ryan Fitzpatrick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Tonight should not change that number, since Tolzien and Brissett are already on the list for the Colts and Mariota and Cassel for the Titans).
How does that compare? Over the last decade, the average is 42 quarterbacks
through Week 6. Even if you want to add in Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill–who have not thrown a pass but would have been projected starters in the spring, it’s pretty much in line (and you would also then have to find cases like Tony Romo a year ago and add them in to be consistent).
If you go back to 2000, the average is 41.9. If you look at the 1990’s, the average was 42.1, despite there being fewer teams at that time. Basically, this is just like most years, except we’ve lost a big name (like Tom Brady in 2008 and Peyton Manning in 2011) early on.