Wednesday Morning QB (Week 8)

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If there is one complaint about the NFL that seems to come up more often over the last few years is what they are doing to protect the players.

When concussions became a serious concern after it was discovered that the constant damage caused by concussions can have long-term effects on the brain the league came under fire.

Many thought that they had actively hidden the issues related to contact in the game and there was proof that they had done exactly that.

Over the last few years, the league has been accused of hiring doctors to produce studies that downplayed the issues with contact and brain injuries while actively looking to silence doctors that disagreed with their stance.

It was the source of a lawsuit from former players that was settled with a large payout, although probably not large enough, from the NFL.

Those days when they denied the issues with concussions, and that wasn’t too long ago, has caused plenty of distrust between the players and the league.

The NFL has attempted to change the rules and make a violent game a little safer with limited contact practices and new rules regarding helmet to helmet contact.

Aside from eliminating hitting from the game, there is not much more they can do as the players now at least know the risks coming in and the NFL is taking steps to be better.

It isn’t perfect but the league is making strides in helping players stay as safe as they can when playing a game that requires hitting.

Still, there is controversy though as the league can sometimes be inconsistent in the enforcement of the new rules especially when it comes to the on-field hits.

That has taken a new focus with the complaints of last year’s MVP, Cam Newton, who has regularly said that the league and their referees are not there for him.

He claimed last year that head referee Ed Hochuli told him he was too young to get a call during a game.

Then came the opening game of the season when the Denver Broncos where it seemed like the referees were missing blatant calls.

The Broncos swarmed Newton and although many of the hits were fine there were a select few that were legitimately dangerous hits, one that looked like it actually knocked Newton out.

The latest in the line of suspicious treatment was in Week 8 when Calais Campbell looked to tackle Newton and went for his legs.

A low hit against the quarterback in the pocket like this one is now an automatic flag as the league looks to kerb the issues of ACL tears on unnecessary hits.

The hit was never flagged and for Newton, it was another case of him just not getting the calls on hits that could end his season or his career.football-sidebar

In his post-game press conference, Newton made his feelings known and let out his frustration about the refereeing when he is on the field.

On one hand, Newton has not made the best example of himself when his seasons do not go according to plan and he is clearly known as a sore loser.

He has pouted after losing the Super Bowl and in the year before his MVP season, a bad year saw him consistently complain in press conferences.

It is important to know this as it is not as bad as he is saying and when he says it makes the game, not fun he could also just be talking about the fact that he hates losing and that is all the Panthers have been doing.

At the same time though there is something going on when Newton is on the field.

The NFL seems to be acknowledging that fact, albeit not admitting to it, with a meeting scheduled between Newton and the commissioner.

The meeting might not produce anything but the fact that they are meeting should show that the NFL is realising that there is a problem.

Newton is not getting the calls that many quarterbacks get in the league and that has been seen throughout the season.

It is dangerous and it all relates back to the NFL protecting their players.

With inconsistency like this still out there it is hard for the league to argue that they are doing a great job at protecting their players consistently.

There is no question that they are doing better but there is still a long way to go and Newton could be the linchpin that might change things.

Fifth Quarter:
(Thoughts on this week in the NFL)

Another Setback
Jamaal Charles was one of the best running backs in the league until an ACL tear hampered his season last year but he was set to make a comeback in 2016 until this week when he was placed on the IR after it was revealed he will likely need another surgery

The Dallas Debate
As Tony Romo continues his comeback trail the Cowboys are closing in on a big decision whether to let the veteran lead them for the rest of the year or give the reigns to the rookie and it seems to be leaning more towards Dak Prescott

Johnson Retires
Another week meant another retirement for a player that could have been one of the greatest had it not been for injuries cutting more than one season short as Andre Johnson decided to step away from the game this week

Quiet Trade Day
The NFL trade deadline came and went with only one major deal as the Patriots sent Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns in the midst of his best season ever but other than that surprise other teams remained quiet

standings-w8-fw

Key Scores:
Washington 27-27 Cincinnati Bengals
– For those in London expecting an exciting game, they got a surprise as the NFL saw the second game in two weeks end in a tie after Washington and Cincinnati couldn’t figure out a winner in time

Carolina Panthers 30-20 Arizona Cardinals
– The Panthers have not been the Super Bowl team that they were a year ago with inconsistency throughout their season and despite the controversy in the game the Panthers still came out on top against the Cards

Atlanta Falcons 33-32 Green Bay Packers
– It was expected to be a shootout if the Packers’ offence could show up and they did in a back nd forth game where the Packers simply ran out of time to find their way back into the lead leaving Atlanta with a loss

Dallas Cowboys 29-23 Philadelphia Eagles
– It was yet another tryout for Dak Prescott and he passed again as he outdid another great rookie in Carson Wentz to give the Cowboys another win in what has become a surprising season led by the young guns

Next Week:
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, November 6th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Vikings were the best team in the league up until two weeks ago when they lost their first game and now they are on a two-game losing streak and hoping to get back on track against the Lions

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants (Sunday, November 6th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Eagles continue to look better with Carson Wentz under centre but they haven’t produced the results they want and now they hope to get there through the Giants who get back to work after their bye week

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, November 6th; 1:00 pm ET)
– It has been one of the biggest rivalries in the league over the last decade and the two AFC North teams get back at it with the biggest question surrounding the health of Ben Roethlisberger

Carolina Panthers vs. Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, November 6th; 4:05 pm ET)
– Fresh off of his latest post-game rant Neston gets back to the field hoping to dig out of an early-season hole as they travel to the west coast to take on the Rams who give their quarterback another chance after a bad week in Week 7

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