Robert Quinn emerged as a force to be reckon with in 2013. He tallied 19 sacks, named a first team All-Pro, and helped anchor a Los Angeles Rams defense that emerged as one of the best in the league. Quinn followed it up with a stellar 2014 season, but he has struggled to stay on the field since. How much should Rams fans be concerned about Quinn’s health moving forward?
Take a look at Quinn’s overall injury history above, courtesy of Fox Sports. Quinn appeared on the injury report 18 times over the last two years and missed about half of the team’s games during that time. It wasn’t just one nagging injury either. Quinn suffered a new injury every time, whether it be his back, shoulder, hip, knee, or a concussion that ended his 2016 campaign.
There are a couple things to factor in here as well. Over the last two years the Rams haven’t exactly been competitive, especially last season. There was absolutely no reason to have a star like Robert Quinn play in most of their late season games if they were basically meaningless. I find it a bit questionable that a concussion, the first one of Quinn’s entire career, would keep him out for five games under usual circumstances. He may have been able to fight through some of these injuries if the pressure was on.
Another important note that I mentioned earlier is that these are all different injuries, for better or worse. The plus side of this is that recurring injuries are the ones that derail careers. When players are forced to give up the game due to injury, it’s usually due to an injury never really healing just right. Quinn hasn’t had any recurring injuries, which is good in this regard, but also could be looked at as a problem. Maybe Quinn’s body is becoming more fragile as he gets older? Maybe he’ll always be dealing with a series of injuries each season? Or maybe he just suffered through a ridiculously unlucky string of injuries over the past two years.
One more positive for Quinn is his history before 2015. Not once has Quinn had any real injury problems since a brain tumor in his senior year of high school, from which he made a full recovery. Quinn also has the benefit of missing an entire year of football in college due to NCAA sanctions. All things considered, Quinn’s health over the past two years really came out of nowhere.
Quinn needs to have a relatively healthy 2017 season. The Rams have a potential out in Quinn’s contract after this season, and he’s due to make over $10 million per season in 2018 and 2019, should they choose to keep him. Quinn is absolutely worth the money when healthy. He’s still an elite pass rusher in this league and is a great complement to Aaron Donald. But why would the Rams commit all that money to Quinn if he can’t stay on the field?
There are really only two ways of looking at this. Either Quinn’s body is betraying him and his career may be doomed, or he just had a ton of bad luck over the past two seasons. I’m inclined to believe in the latter. This is a guy that didn’t suffer a single injury before 2015, and each one of these injuries was a relatively minor thing. If the Rams become competitive, whenever that may be, Quinn might be more inclined to fight through some of these injuries.
Let’s hope I’m right. Another injury riddled season would be devastating for both the Rams and Robert Quinn.
Steve Rebeiro is a staff writer and podcast host for Rams Talk. He graduated from Marquette University in 2016. For more of his opinions, follow him on Twitter here or check out his podcast Tejas and Lil Stevie.