Think a short quarterback can't succeed in the NFL. Russell Wilson would like you to hold that thought. (AP)
According to official playing-time documents, no quarterback played in 100 percent of his team's offensive snaps during the 2011 season. The closest to achieve that goal was Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who missed three of the Ravens' 1,080 snaps for a 99.72 percent playing-time percentage. Other quarterbacks who rarely came off the field include Philip Rivers (98.99 percent of the San Diego Chargers' snaps), Cam Newton (98.95 percent of the Carolina Panthers' snaps) and Tom Brady (98.94 percent of the New England Patriots' snaps).
We're only three weeks into the 2012 regular season, so this is bound to change as we move forward, but according to playing-time data on NFL gamebooks this season, 15 NFL quarterbacks have not missed one of their team's offensive snaps. Some of the names do not come as a surprise. Brady, Rivers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler, while some quarterbacks attempting to shed injury-prone labels — Michael Vick and Sam Bradford — have also managed to take every snap for his team. It is worth noting that during Bradford's rookie season of 2010, he was one of two quarterbacks to take all of his team's snaps. (Peyton Manning, then in his final season with the Indianapolis Colts, was the other.)
One player who might be in a bit of trouble in keeping his 100 percent playing-time streak alive is Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who has accounted for 10 turnovers through four games and while he'll remain the starter, he may soon give way to Brady Quinn.
Rounding out the 15 quarterbacks with 100 percent playing-time percentages thus far this season are Christian Ponder of the Minnesota Vikings and Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Including the five rookie quarterbacks, 12 players who entered the NFL in 2012 have not missed one of his team's snaps. Six on the offensive side are offensive linemen Matt Kalil, Kevin Zeitler, Amini Silatolu, Kelechi Osomele, Mitchell Schwartz and Bobby Massie. On the defensive side is Buccaneers first-round safety Mark Barron, who is drawing rave reviews for his performance (27 tackles, five passes defensed) this season. Never coming off the field may help a player show up on tape.
On the undrafted side, Chargers left tackle Michael Harris had 100 percent playing-time percentages in the first three weeks of the season before giving way to Jared Gaither on Sunday. Through Week 4, Harris' playing-time percentage is at 75.78 percent, the highest among undrafted players on offense. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater (61.6 percent) is No. 2 on that list with Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Mike Brewster (57.85 percent), Miami Dolphins fullback Jorvorskie Lane (36.03 percent) and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Damaris Johnson (31.05 percent) filling out the top five. Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict (43.13 percent) leads on the defensive side.
Big Divide Between Cornerbacks and Safeties
Barron is one of 21 NFL safeties have playing-time percentages of 100 percent this season. That list includes Eric Berry, part of the Chiefs' "ACL" trio from the club's lost 2011 season, and Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes, who missed most of 2011 with a fracture in his foot, playing in just 34.68 percent of his team's snaps last year.
The same playing-time percentages are not found at the cornerback position, where just three players have not missed a snap. That short list is comprised of Tim Jennings (Chicago Bears), Cortland Finnegan (St. Louis Rams) and Antoine Cason, who is in his contract year with the San Diego Chargers.
Running back LeSean McCoy has been on the field for 251 offensive snaps, which accounts for 82.03 percent of the Philadelphia Eagles plays this season. Both amounts are the highest among NFL running backs. From a total snaps standpoint, Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens is second (231), while Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders has the second-highest playing-time percentage (82 percent). Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans is the fourth running back over 80 percent. Seventeen wide receivers have playing-time percentages over 90 percent, with Calvin Johnson (97.38) leading the way followed by Donnie Avery (96.71) and Brandon LaFell (96.60 percent). Thirteen tight ends have playing-time percentages over 90 percent, headlined by Heath Miller (99.53), Fred Davis (98.59), Kellen Davis (97.69), Greg Olsen (97.45) and, not surprisingly, Rob Gronkowski (96.41).
Special Teams Standouts
No player has been as involved on his team's special teams plays as Chiefs linebacker Andy Studebaker, who has a 93.02 percent playing-time percentage on special teams through four games. Miami Dolphins linebacker Jason Trusnik (92.97) is a close second with Jacksonville Jaguars safety Chris Prosinski (89.92 percent), Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dan Connor (87.63 percent) and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Heath Farwell (85.44 percent) rounding out the top five.
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