NFL quickly pivots concussion protocols - but will they stick? | You Pod To Win the Game

After 12 players were benched on Sunday due to concussion protocols, Yahoo Sports senior NFL insider Charles Robinson and Yahoo Sports senior NFL writer Charles Schwab discuss if the changes to the league's procedures following Tua Tagovailoa's latest injury will have an effect - and if they will actually stick. Hear the full conversation on You Pod To Win The Game. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: The Tua Tagovailoa situation, obviously, with the concussion protocols last week, prior to the Tua-- the Tua injury on Thursday-- the concussion on Thursday, the Sunday that Tua-- we felt like he was concussed against the Bills. I went and looked, three players entered the concussion protocol and were not allowed to return to a game that Sunday. Obviously, he was not one of those. He entered the protocols, cleared them, and then--

FRANK SCHWAB: He entered the back injury protocol that day.

CHARLES ROBINSON: The back injury protocol, right. We know that the NFL and the NFLPA are going to come out with some quote unquote, "enhanced protocols". There's going to be some tweaks to this, right? And it sounds like it's going to be if someone exhibits the loss of gross motor function out on the field during the game, they're done. They're just going to be done. Like, we're not going to play with us anymore. We're not going to go through the hoops.

I bring this up because 12 players-- 12 today in eight games were benched in the concussion protocols. It went from three that Sunday that Tua was able to enter the Bills game, to 12, including the Sunday night slate, in which we see Cameron Brate, tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, appear to be not 100% right.

Reenters the game, right? He hits his head again, hits it on Chris Godwin's knee, and then that point he disappears, and we find out he's concussed. He's in the protocols. The Giants game, they had Tyrod Taylor and then they had a safety that went out. Well, Tyrod Taylor-- Carl Cheffers pulls him out and says you're done. Like, he pulled him out and said-- took him off, said you got to go through medical evaluation. And the spotter, the NFL's concussion spotter was the one who identified the safety and said, get him off the field.

We'll see how this plays out, but I think once those tweaks come down the pipeline, this 12 is going to be fairly consistent, or somewhere in that neighborhood fairly consistent moving forward in terms of the number of players who end up taking a bench because of concussion protocols. By the way, Shaquille Leonard, we saw All-Pro, we saw Pro Bowl level, Denzel Perryman.

FRANK SCHWAB: Brian Hoyer. Brian Hoyer.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Two quarterbacks, you got Tyrod Taylor, Brian Hoyer.

FRANK SCHWAB: The Brian Hoyer example kind of stood out to me because it seemed like Brian Hoyer was walking off the field and five minutes later, the Patriots who don't want to talk about injuries, they're like, he's done. He's out. Everyone was like, wow, oh, they're not even Messing around with this. That's one that stuck out to me. You're right, the other examples are great. I mean, do-- I know you said this, but we see this happen a lot, right? And if a couple of weeks it goes, and, OK, yeah, we're all very sensitive towards this because what happened to Tua, and then by Halloween, they kind of forget it, and it kind of fades away.

You think this is-- I mean, do you think this is it? Do you think that they could stick with this? Because the NFL-- I mean, look, their history with head injuries is bad. There's no way around that. And it reared its-- no pun intended, its ugly head again this week with the Tua thing. Do you think this really does stick? I mean, this is-- we're going to see-- hey, if you're stumbling around-- and by the way, there's nothing wrong with that. Even if Tua was stumbling around with a back injury, maybe he shouldn't be playing football. Like, I mean, that's still probably bad.

But I just wonder if this actually has the ability to stick, other than just, hey, we're going to pay this lip service for a few weeks and then, again, by November everybody's going forget about it.

CHARLES ROBINSON: To me, I think that for us to see that this is real and lasting, it has to happen in the playoffs. And what I mean by that is, that is the environment in which you see wide receiver one stumble, or quarterback stumble, or pass rushing 15 sack defensive end appears to-- you know this gross motor function, the loss of gross loss of motor function issue, if it happens in a playoff game, and they pull somebody.

And then afterward that player is hot pissed, the team's pissed, everybody's upset, the fan base is ready to revolt, and then the league stands up and goes, no, this is how this works now. We're not going to prioritize the Super Bowl over X player, who clearly to us, fits the new description of this gross loss of motor function, which, again, this is my own words.

Let's see where the actual verbiage lands when this is ultimately tweaked. But I'll be curious to see what the teaching tools are because you have to show spotters, here's what this looks like. You have to show refs. You have to show medical personnel, and if the teaching tool is the Bills tape, like, OK, when a guy does this, when he gets up and shakes his head--

FRANK SCHWAB: It's pretty clear and obvious. Exactly.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Like if that's the threshold, then it's like, OK, guy's getting up, shaking his head, stumbles, falls to the ground, clearly is dizzy, is having problems, needs his teammates to hold them up, you're done, like, at that point. Like if that's the threshold, I think a lot of us will be OK with it because a lot-- frankly a lot can fall under that. So-- or at least not meet that standard.