NFL weighing possible game-day roster adjustments to help offset new concussion protocol – CBS Sports

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With the NFL erring on the side of caution when it comes to concussions and admitting healthy players may be removed from games if they appear to stumble, at least one team brought up at last week’s owners meetings the potential for changes to game-day roster adjustments, according to a league source.

The concern stemmed from Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater being removed from the game in Week 5 after spotters believed they saw signs of ataxia, which was recently added to the league’s concussion protocol. Bridgewater passed the protocol but was not allowed to re-enter the game, and rookie Skylar Thompson was the only healthy quarterback remaining for the Dolphins.

“This is a process that will be an evolution,” NFL chief medical doctor Allen Sills said Tuesday of the latest protocol addition.

The NFL allows for teams to have 53 players on an active roster (along with up to 16 players on their practice squad.) But teams are allowed only 46 active players on game day, and those inactive designations must be made 90 minutes before kickoff with no ability to adjust afterward.

The rules had been modified for the 2020 season due to a late positive COVID test, but today they’re back to the pre-COVID rules.

The NFL has long had the game-day inactive rules in place to protect against one team being more or less healthy than the other in an effort to balance the competition on any given game week. The league plans to err on the side of caution when it comes to possible head injuries, but the league also wasn’t shy this past week about admitting how crucial star quarterback play is to the overall well-being of the game today.

The league wants to avoid two outcomes. First, it doesn’t want to see another incident like the scary scene on “Thursday Night Football” where Tua Tagovailoa assumed the fencing posture after his sack against the Bengals. Concussions are an unfortunate part of the game, of course, and that’s why the NFL has strengthened the protocol.

But the league also doesn’t want to see games quarterbacked by running backs or end-of-roster players. The Giants nearly faced that in Week 5 against the Packers when Daniel Jones left with an ankle injury and Tyrod Taylor exited with a concussion. The Dolphins were left with Thompson later that day despite Bridgewater never showing any signs or symptoms of a concussion that day or the rest of the week.