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Mailbag: New IR Rules? Improving At Backup QB?


The NFL released rule changes to both injured reserve and practice squad. What do you think about these changes to the rules and how they will impact teams? – ZEKE W.

David: Fortunately, we have a good idea of how some of this will affect teams because we've been using some of these rules since the outbreak of COVID. I absolutely love the expansion of the practice squad to 16 players, because it gives you a deeper pool of players to develop – not to mention a longer list of guys that can help you in case of injury. I'd prefer not to have a limit on the number of guys that can return from IR, but I understand the league has to find a way to keep clubs from abusing the rule.

Nick: I think the NFL did a good job of finding a middle ground now that we're out of COVID protocols. They kept some of things they were using then, and also reverted somewhat back to the old days. Now, teams can bring back eight players from IR, instead of an unlimited amount the past two years. Don't forget it wasn't too long ago when they had no players allowed to come back at all. So, eight still seems like a lot. Personally, I think the practice squad is a little too much. Sure, it gives you a deeper pool of players to use, but it also limits the amount of available players out there if you really need to add at a position. People say all the time, "just go someone off the street." Well, no one is on the street anymore because of these larger practice squads and you can always steal one off another team, but rules force you to keep them longer. That's just my take. But overall, I like the changes.

NFL teams can bring back up to eight players from the IR next season and the player has to miss at least four games as well as only being able to come off IR twice per season. The NFL also increased practice squad to 16 players.

Let's talk about a quality backup QB since we've had Andy Dalton. Ryan Fitzpatrick is available. If Dak goes down, Ryan can step right in. Better than anyone we have on the roster now. – JACK MARTIN / KINGSTON, OK

David: It's ironic, because the Cowboys learned just how valuable a quality backup can be when Dak got hurt and Dalton was able to step in for him. Obviously, that season didn't go well, but there's no telling what might happen if your starter is only hurt for 3-5 weeks as opposed to an entire year. The problem with guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Cam Newton is that they're probably holding out for an opportunity to start. But if either one of them is willing to sign as a backup for cheap, I'd be interested.

Nick: True, Fitzpatrick would be better than anyone else the Cowboys have. But call me crazy, but I'm fine with Cooper Rush for a game or two. Anything more than that, and you're probably in a bad shape anyways. We saw that with Andy Dalton. He was better than Fitz and the Cowboys still went 6-10. So, I'm fine with Rush. He proved a lot to me in one game and I think he can manage things on a short-term basis.

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