Week 12 Football Fun Facts
• There is an old belief in sports that a team athlete cannot lose their position to an injury. I am not sure if that was ever actually true. What is true is that an athlete can lose their job over performance.. And a good way for a backup to get a chance to perform, is to get on the field due to injury. For example, take a look at the Philadelphia quarterback situation. In Week 5 against the Giants, Michael Vick pulled a hamstring as he was running out-of-bounds on a play. He remained in the game for a couple of plays but couldn’t move and was replaced by Nick Foles. After that game against New York, Vick had a PFF rating of (+3.9) and as the saying goes, would not lose his job to injury.
But Foles finished that Week 5 game, grading out with a (+3.3) and continued to play well, which led to a lot of comments out of Philadelphia about not playing Vick until he was 100% ready. And then Week 7 happened. Against the Cowboys, Foles graded out at (-7.8) and suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter. Suddenly it wasn’t such a crazy idea for Vick to play at less than 100%. Vick, justifiably worried about his job, started Week 8 against the Giants. He clearly wasn’t ready, was extremely immobile and injured himself on the one scramble that he ran. Vick left the game in the second quarter, finishing with a (-4.1) rating. Foles resumed starting in Week 9 and over the last three weeks has graded out at (+11.1) On Tuesday, Chip Kelly announced that Foles would remain the starter for the rest of the season. Vick has been very professional about the change and has chosen to spout the usual clichés, even saying how he would attempt to be the “best backup ever.”
So performance, when given an opportunity, can lead to the changing of the guard at a position. But it is not the only factor. Age and salary can also influence whether an athlete gets to keep a position when the incumbent comes back from injury. And just like with Philadelphia’s quarterback situation, these four linebackers missed time due to different reasons, opening up the door for changes around the NFL.