- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton was on the field for a higher percentage of his team’s offensive plays than all but three NFL quarterbacks in the 2011 season.
Newton was on the field for 98.95 percent of Carolina’s 1,046 offensive snaps. He was out for only 11 plays. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning led the league in this category, playing in all 1,075 of his team’s offensive plays.
New Orleans’ Drew Brees ranked No. 10 in the league, taking part in 96.35 percent of the Saints’ snaps. Brees was pulled from a few games when the Saints were blowing teams out, although his departure might have come a bit later than the Atlanta Falcons would have liked in the game where Brees broke Dan Marino’s record for passing yardage in a season.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan participated in 94.23 percent of the Falcons’ 1,127 offensive plays. Ryan’s percentage was No. 12 in the league.
Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman was No. 14 at 92.26. Freeman was on the field for 942 of Tampa Bay’s 1,021 offensive plays. Freeman missed one game with an injury and also was yanked at times when the Bucs inserted Josh Johnson in their Wildcat package, which, hopefully is something new coach Greg Schiano does away with.
I’ve got playing time details for every player in the league in 2011. I’m breaking them down with Saint Leo University student Chris Walker, who is acting as the unofficial (and unpaid) NFC South Blog intern. Over the coming days, we’ll take individual looks at playing time for NFC South players at all the different position groups.