Injuries and the Offseason Debate

Stewart Bradley

So Moving the Chains has kicked off the discussion over how much injuries played in the 2009 Eagles season. The post is based on NFL/Special Teams/Injury Guru Rick Gosselin’s Games Lost stat. The numbers are really interesting because they can tell you which teams over or underperformed this year because of health (or lack thereof), respectively. Sheil Kapadia is interested in how the injuries affected this season, but I’m more interested in what they mean for next season.

Teams should tend to revert back to the average in terms of injuries from year to year. You can debate how much effect that will/would have, especially considering other large factors like player and coach turnover, etc. But overall, contending teams like the Eagles ought to go into next season with a similar starting lineup as the past year, minimizing the influence of such change. Thus, we can speculate how well a team will do next year based on their injury situation this year.

Teams due to for a fall:

  • Dallas: They never put a single starter on IR. That won’t happen two years in a row.
  • Minnesota: How did Brett Favre not get hurt?
  • Arizona: Ditto with Kurt Warner.
  • Denver: Apparently they weren’t even that good to begin with.
  • NY Jets: Cinderella story will have a difficult time repeating.

Teams set to rise up:

  • Buffalo: Unluckiest team this year.
  • St. Louis: Bad team made worse by injuries.
  • Jacksonville: If starters fall in the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and no one’s there to see it, did they ever really fall?
  • Philadelphia: See below.
  • Indianapolis/New Orleans: Yikes. They should be even better.

So the Eagles are due for a little bit of a rebound. Again, its tough to say how much, since they could go out and lose Trent Cole in the Pro Bowl (knock on wood). But overall it is unlikely they suffer through the same fate of OL and LB decimation again.

Okay, you’re probably saying, what does this have to do with the Eagles Offseason QB Clusterf%$k™?

To make a long story short, this is part of any argument that says McNabb should be back next year. The Eagles were a legitimate playoff team, one win away from the NFC East Division champ and a first round bye. By changing quarterbacks now Andy & Co. risk setting everything back and keeping the team from improving on this year’s result. Maybe with McNabb the team can take the next step to greatness without injury problems to derail them. Who knows if Kolb can handle that?