BOSTON (CBS) – Senior NFL writer Greg Bedard of Sports Illustrated joined Gresh and Zolak Friday afternoon to talk all things NFL, but the discussion began in talking about the NFL’s injury epidemic.
Gresh referenced an article by Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports that takes a look at injuries across the NFL and why they are on such a meteoric rise.
Gresh can’t help but wonder if the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement – which limits the amount of contact and practice time throughout the year – has somehow hurt rather than helped the effort to curb injuries.
Is the NFL’s new CBA putting players more at risk?
“My personal opinion from talking to a few people around the league is that the changes in the CBA – where they’ve cut down on contact and offseason stuff – I think people are of the opinion that the bodies aren’t toughened up before the season like they’re used to. They’re just not prepared for that,” said Bedard.
Bedard thinks it’s helped in one regard, but hurt in another.
“I think the changes in that the CBA have been good for head issues, but as far as the physical injuries I think it’s adversely affected them.”
However, Bedard cautions that this could just be a bad year for injuries and that more data is needed to prove that theory.
Bedard also surveyed the AFC landscape and gave his opinion on which teams are contenders and pretenders. The first team he addressed was the Kansas City Chiefs, whom he called a “paper tiger.”
But according to Bedard, the biggest problem with the Chiefs is their quarterback Alex Smith – affectionately nicknamed “Captain Checkdown” for his tendency to play conservative.
“Alex Smith is a limited quarterback. You can play regular season games taking care of the football, but when it comes to beating the best teams you’re going to need the quarterback to make big plays. A lot of times Alex doesn’t even try,” said Bedard. “That’ll win you a lot of regular season games, but in the biggest games they’re going to need more from him.”
Bedard looks for the Patriots offensive line to be better coming out of the bye week, and praises their 7-2 record given the amount of personnel turnover and injuries.
Which teams in the NFL are the best?
As far as the AFC goes, Bedard said that if the Patriots can stay healthy the conference is “wide open.”
Listen to the full interview below: