This year, the National Football League has added "Playtime Percentage" to the Gamebooks that are found in the "Game Centers" at NFL.com. That information is not always updated on the public end, but it is updated the morning after each game on the NFL Media site. I've been tracking that data throughout the season for Shutdown Corner, and here are a few observations through Week 10:
On Monday night the Pittsburgh Steelers lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a right shoulder injury, specifically a sprained sternoclavicular joint injury that has the two-time Pro Bowler questionable for this upcoming Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens. Roethlisberger had been one of a steadily decreasing number of players who had played in 100 percent of his team's offensive or defensive plays this season, but his perfect playing-time season came to an end when he was sacked by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston with 14 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had also been on that list entering Week 10, but his concussion in the second quarter of Sunday's 38-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys put an end to that somewhat surprising display of longevity from Vick, who couldn't make it through a 2012 preseason game without suffering an injury.
Currently, six NFL quarterbacks have taken 100 percent of his team's offensive snaps this season. Three of the quarterbacks are rookies, including No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and No. 22 overall pick Brandon Weeden of the Cleveland Browns. The third rookie passer with 100 percent playing-time this season is Russell Wilson, who was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round (No. 75 overall). The three veteran quarterbacks with 100 percent playing-time entering Week 11 are Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman.
Skill-Position Playing-Time Percentages
Sixty-one players on offense have perfect playing-time percentages —six quarterbacks and 61 offensive linemen. Here's a look at the Top 5 playing-time percentages (not raw snap counts) among the skill-position players in the National Football League through Week 10:
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles — 81.2 percent
Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens — 80.76 percent
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans — 80.49 percent
Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 74.73 percent
Arian Foster, Houston Texans — 73.8 percent
Other running backs with playing-time percentages over 70 percent: Adrian Peterson (72.37 percent), Marshawn Lynch (70.6 percent) and Frank Gore (70.04 percent).
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals — 97.73 percent
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions — 95.75 percent
Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills — 95.4 percent
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals — 94.02 percent
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons — 93.98 percent
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers — 98.71 percent
Kellen Davis, Chicago Bears — 97.63 percent
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers — 97.49 percent
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys — 95.56 percent
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals — 95.21 percent
In terms of raw snap counts, Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots leads all tight ends with 657 offensive snaps this season, followed by Kyle Rudolph of the Minnesota Vikings, who has 619.
Ironmen on Defense
Entering Week 11, only eight defensive players have playing-time percentages of 100 percent. Not surprisingly, five of the eight ironmen on defense are safeties, with the remaining three playing linebacker.
Of the three linebackers to not miss a snap this season, two are middle linebackers in 4-3 defenses who earned lucrative new contracts before the start of the season. On March 28, the Saints signed Curtis Lofton away from the Falcons with a five-year, $27.5 million contract that included $15 million in guaranteed money. Lofton has a team-high 81 tackles with one sack and a forced fumble while playing 100 percent of the snaps for the Saints' 32nd-ranked defense. On the eve of the season opener, the St. Louis Rams signed James Laurinaitis to a five-year, $41.5 million extension that included $23 million guaranteed. Laurinaitis has 81 tackles and a share of a sack, but the defense he's quarterbacking is ranked 15th in the NFL through Week 10.
The other linebacker with a perfect playing-time percentage is Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who has 4 ½ sacks and nine quarterback hits as Washington's top pass-rushing option on the wake of the season-ending injury to Brian Orakpo.
Pro Bowler Eric Weddle of the San Diego Chargers headlines the quintet of safeties with perfect playing-time percentages this season. Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore has also not missed a snap this season, while Thomas DeCoud, Moore's counterpart in the backend of the Falcons' secondary, has missed just one play.
Three safeties from the 2010 NFL draft class round out the list of defensive players with perfect playing-time percentages. Eric Berry missed all but five plays of the 2011 season with a torn ACL, but has not missed a down on defense for the Kansas City Chiefs this season. Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett, a third-round pick out of Georgia Tech who tore an ACL as a rookie, has also not missed a snap this season. Also perfect on the season is Kam Chancellor, a 2010 fifth-round pick out of Virginia Tech by the Seattle Seahawks who went to the 2011 Pro Bowl in his first season as a starter and currently leads the Seahawks' fourth-ranked defense with 52 solo tackles.
The Kids Are All Right
In addition to the rookie quarterbacks with 100 percent playing-time, rookie offensive linemen Matt Kalil, Mitchell Schwartz and Bobby Massie have not missed a snap this season. Six other rookies on offense — quarterbacks Robert Griffin and Ryan Tannehill, offensive linemen Kevin Zeitler, Jonathan Martin, Amini Silatolu and Kelechi Osomele — have playing-time percentages over 90 percent. Buccaneers safety Mark Barron has missed just a handful of snaps this season and is among eight defensive rookies with at least 90 percent playing-time this season. Five (Barron, Stephon Gilmore, Harrison Smith, Morris Claiborne and Chandler Jones) were first-round picks and two (Lavonte Davis, Mychal Kendricks) were chosen in the second round. Carolina Panthers fifth-round cornerback Josh Norman (93.49 percent) rounds out the list.
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has appeared in 63.74 percent of the defensive plays, leading all undrafted defensive rookies this season. Buccaneers cornerback Leonard Johnson is second among undrafted defensive players with 32.68 percent. On offense, Michael Brewster has played in 62.76 percent of the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive snaps this season, with San Diego Chargers left tackle Michael Harris (58.42 percent) and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater (55.74 percent) close behind.
Ray Edwards' Decreasing Playing Time
On Monday night, the Falcons announced that they were parting ways with defensive end Ray Edwards, who will hit the waiver wire on Tuesday and clear it with ease on Wednesday. After missing out on defensive end Charles Johnson, who re-upped with the Carolina Panthers after the 2011 lockout was lifted, the Falcons quickly signed Edwards to a five-year, $27.5 million contract that included $11 million guaranteed and a $12 million payout over the first two seasons.
Edwards had posted back-to-back seasons with at least eight sacks, but had just 3 ½ sacks as a 16-game starter who official NFL playing-time documents show logged 686 of the Falcons' 996 defensive snaps in 2011. Edwards' 68.88 playing-time percentage was tops among the Falcons defensive ends last season, but it's been a different story in 2012. Despite starting four of the nine games and playing in 36.57 percent of the Falcons' defensive snaps this season, Edwards has not recorded a single sack this season. In fact, Edwards was passed on the depth chart by Kroy Biermann, who may have only started three games this season, but has played in just under 70 percent of the snaps.