In years past in the NFL, defenses were allowed to be mean and intimidating and could protect their turf.
Much of the rules changes are related to NFL's desire to increasing scoring, not just to increase player safety.
If a QB didn't want to get hammered, then he needs to hand it off, or have guys stay back to pass block.
QB's knew they should not throw a pass high over the middle, or else their receivers would likely get killed.
For QB's that wanted to try and run for the 1st down, they had to decide on risk vs reward, as they might get destroyed if they tried to get too greedy and get more yardage than would be reasonably tolerated by a defense that is protecting turf on its side of the ball.
The thrill and excitement of special teams plays is also being slowly whittled down to flag football over the years.
If kickers, punters, and QB's want to be able to run the ball, or block, or make tackles, they should be required to wear thigh pads, knee pads, hip pads, kidney pads, real set of shoulder pads, etc. Not fair if they can make tackles and blocks, but other teams players can't hit them. Total bs.
I know why those players wear very minimal set of pads. It's so they have increased flexibility, and due to they usually don't try to get involved in tackles very often.
I'm in favor of moving NFL in direction of improved helmet technology, and making all players wear proper protective pads/gear, and not calling so many penalties for how tackles are made (within reason).
Intentionally trying to blow-out a player's knees, knock em unconscious, etc. should lead to fines & suspensions for repeated dirty play. Let's not call so many petty penalties. It's getting ridiculous imho.
Looking forward to the play-offs. Cheers!