NFL preview Sunday: Concussion protocol change agreed


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The NFL and NFLPA agreed on Saturday to make it mandatory for any player who gets up wobbly from a head injury (now officially called « ataxia ») to be immediately ruled out of a game.

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On Sept. 25 against Buffalo, Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa got to his feet from a hard knock wobbling and shaking his head, but was allowed to resume play.

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All issues relating to player health shall be decided upon and implemented jointly by the NFL and the NFLPA.

This change in concussion diagnostic protocol is the main action item resulting from a joint investigation into the Tagovailoa incident. The investigation revealed that although all medical staff followed the protocol to a T and the examination was conducted with seriousness, « the outcome in this case was not what was intended when it was written. of the protocol ».

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The two sides did not disagree with the in-game locker room assessment – ​​made by the Dolphins team physician and assigned unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant – that Tagovailoa had not suffered a concussion. , but was instead dealing with an aggravated back injury.

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Starting Sunday, any player who displays a wobble like Tagovailoa did against Buffalo will be done for the day. The new protocol defines ataxia as « an abnormality in balance/stability, motor coordination, or dysfunctional speech. »

The NFL’s two top medical decision-makers — Allen Sills, the chief medical officer, and Jeff Miller, executive vice president — told reporters on a conference call that ataxia joins loss of consciousness (including the impact seizure and/or « fencing stance »), confusion, and amnesia as immediate signs of « no-go » that immediately render a player concussed and finished for the game.

The league and players’ union previously described the condition as « gross motor instability. »

But in everyday language? Wobbling, following a brain injury.

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Just six weeks after sustaining two gunshot wounds to his right leg in a robbery attempt, Brian Robinson Jr. is scheduled to play Sunday against Tennessee.

The Washington Commanders running back was activated from the non-football injury list on Saturday after returning to training this week. Robinson will likely be gradually returned to the running back rotation, along with Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic.

Robinson, a rookie, was on his way to a Washington-area restaurant when he was shot in an attempted carjacking or robbery, police said. The injuries required surgery.

« I did everything I had to do…to make sure I was here (in practice), » Robinson said Wednesday, according to

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage was added to the injured reserve (fullback) on Saturday and is questionable to play against Atlanta.

You need a scorecard to keep track of all the Bucs wide body injuries. Or, in fact, just the next paragraph.

Top WR starters Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are ready, and No. 3 Julio Jones could play (officially questionable, knee), as could replacement WR Breshad Perriman (questionable, knee and hamstring). Replacement Scotty Miller is ready.

Meanwhile, athletic winger Kyle Pitts (hamstring) is out for Atlanta. And a reminder that RB Cordarrelle Patterson, who had such a spectacular start, went to IR with a knee injury.


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Perhaps one of the reasons the Carolina Panthers’ offense is a tire fire is being flagged as « growing communication issues » between embattled head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

This, according to Aaron Wilson of

Carolina’s offense is life or death to string six games together.


Reports on Saturday indicated that New England expects Jakobi Meyers to play against Detroit. A knee injury has sidelined him for the past two weeks.

That’s apparently great news for rookie QB Bailey Zappe, but keep this in mind: Before Meyers suffered a knee injury, Zappe was third on the Patriots’ practice squad. You can probably count on one hand the number of times he threw a practice pass to Meyers.

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Tennessee placed WR Treylon Burks, a starting rookie, on IR on Saturday. He suffered a foot injury last Sunday and then wore a boot … Pittsburgh downgraded safety Terrell Edmunds (concussion) to out … The Rams placed OL Coleman Shelton (ankle) and S Jordan Fuller (hamstring) on IR … Philadelphia downgraded OT Jordan Mailata (shoulder) from questionable to out.


  1. How are rookie QBs doing in early career No. 1? Given the scarcity of good attacking football this season, chances are Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett (at Buffalo) or New England’s Bailey Zappe (against Detroit) will blow our minds. Zappe, against that terrible Lions defense, is much more likely to do so than Pickett against the Bills D.
  2. Can Saquon Barkley single-handedly keep the Giants from the Packers? That’s pretty much what needs to happen, because New York has a sore ankle QB in Daniel Jones and healthy WRs you’ve never even heard of.
  3. Can Zach Wilson and the Jets continue to surprise? It’s the Comeback Kids 2022 (A) versus the Comeback Kids 2022 (B). Make your choice on the order. The Dolphins do not have Tua Tagovailoa but rather Teddy Bridgewater at QB.
  4. Can the Panthers gain 150 yards on the Niners? It’s only half a joke.
  5. Can the Ravens hold Joe Burrow within 400 yards? It’s not a joke at all. The Bengals QB threw for 525 and 416 yards against Baltimore last year.

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Number of kickers who have not yet missed a field goal. But of those, only four also made it on all of their extra-point tries: Green Bay’s Mason Crosby, LA Rams’ Matt Gay, Carolina’s Eddy Pineiro and Arizona’s Matt Prater. And of these four, only Gay (57) and Pineiro (54) attempted and managed a basket from more than 50 meters.


Detroit is averaging 437 yards per game, Philadelphia 436. Detroit is averaging 35 points per game, Philadelphia 29. And yet Detroit is 1-3, Philadelphia 4-0. Defense still matters, people.


« I’ve watched a lot of bad football. A lot of poor quality football – that’s what I see.

Tom BradyBuccaneers QB, hours before the Colts at Broncos kickoff.

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