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Running QBs

Injury potential of running quarterbacks

I’m always torn on running quarterbacks. On the one hand, it’s a great way to add statistical value. But at the same time, it makes it seem like it’s only a matter of time before a season-altering injury will occur.

Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson are great players, with the rushing production being a key element of their success, but it’s a risky style of said. Something to be said, I think, for instead going with a quarterback who does a better job of staying out of the fray – Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow for sure, or perhaps one of the up-and-coming youngsters (Jordan Love, C.J. Stroud, Brock Purdy).

Allen, of course, has gone five years in a row without getting hurt, while Mahomes and Burrow have missed games in that time. But I don’t think that changes the probabilities. If a contestant in a game of Russian Roulette makes it through five rounds, does that mean the regular rules don’t apply to him?

Cam Newton and Daunte Culpepper were physically similar to Allen and played with the same style; injuries eventually caught up with them. Hurts is comparable to Allen; he had to play hurt last year and missed time the previous season.

Jackson stayed healthy last year but missed five games in each of his two previous seasons.

At the same time, there’s something to be said for just picking these guys and trying to ride it out. Even if theres’ an injury, there’s the possibility of keeping your fantasy team afloat with another quarterback (there are lot of good ones out there this year).

I was playing around with some on this. Below see the list of all quarterbacks who’ve run the ball at least 100 times in the last 40 years. The final column shows the number of starts the quarterback missed the next season.

There have been 38 of these quarterbacks, and half missed at least two games the next season. I’ve got them tagged with dots. Not all of the missed games have been due to injury (I see dog-fighting Michael Vick and discarded Tim Tebow) but a good number of injuries with this group.

2019Lamar Jackson, Balt.151761,2066.971
2022Jalen Hurts, Phil.151657604.6130
2022• Justin Fields, Chi.151601,1437.184
2020• Lamar Jackson, Balt.151591,0056.375
2023Jalen Hurts, Phil.171576053.915?
2023Lamar Jackson, Balt.161488215.65?
2018Lamar Jackson, Balt.71476954.751
2017• Cam Newton, Car.161397545.462
2021• Jalen Hurts, Phil.151397845.6102
2020• Cam Newton, N.E.151375924.31212
2021• Lamar Jackson, Balt.121337675.825
2020• Kyler Murray, Ari.161338196.2113
2015• Cam Newton, Car.161326364.8102
2012Cam Newton, Car.161277415.880
2011Cam Newton, Car.161267065.6140
2023Justin Fields, Chi.131246575.34?
2022Josh Allen, Buff.161247626.170
2006• Michael Vick, Atl.161231,0398.5215
2011• Tim Tebow, Den.111226605.4614
2021Josh Allen, Buff.171227636.361
2022• Daniel Jones, NYG161207085.9711
2012• Robert Griffin, Was.151208156.873
2004Michael Vick, Atl.151209027.531
1990• Randall Cunningham, Phil.161189428.0515
2014Russell Wilson, Sea.161188497.260
2002• Michael Vick, Atl.151137776.9812
2022Lamar Jackson, Balt.121127646.831
2023Josh Allen, Buff.171115244.715?
2013• Cam Newton, Car.161115855.362
2019Josh Allen, Buff.161095104.790
2002• Daunte Culpepper, Min.161066095.8102
2014• Colin Kaepernick, S.F.161046396.118
2015Tyrod Taylor, Buff.141045685.541
1989Randall Cunningham, Phil.161046216.040
2014Cam Newton, Car.141035395.250
2015Russell Wilson, Sea.161035535.410
2005Michael Vick, Atl.151025975.960
2020Josh Allen, Buff.161024214.180
2018• Cam Newton, Car.141014884.8414
1997Steve McNair, Ten.161016746.780
2010• Michael Vick, Phil.121006766.893

—Ian Allan

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