Jun 24, 2015, 5:14 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 24, 36 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
More injured than most?
A favorite complaint of Redskins fans is injuries and regarding last season they seemed to have a legitimate complaint. Washington suffered more from injuries to its starters than did the average NFL team.
Football Perspective did a study on injuries to starters, calculating the average number of games started by them. While one could quibble about their methodology (we will get to that in a minute), the numbers still provide a pretty good and common sense way of comparing injuries from team to team.
The average Redskins starter started 13.1 games last year. Twenty other NFL teams were healthier by this measure. A perfect performance here would be a 16.0, meaning that all 22 starters started all 16 games. The best average belonged to the Cowboys at 14.5. The most injury-plagued team by this measure was the Titans at 12.3.
As I noted, the methodology used here is somewhat flawed. FP’s criteria was “the top 22 starters”, as in the 22 who started the most games. So Robert Griffin III, with seven starts, is part of the calculation But he missed six starts with an injury and three more for performance reasons. Those missed starts are counted the same here.
And you have Tom Compton, who was healthy but a spectator for the first seven games before pushing out Tyler Polumbus at right tackle. The Redskins had two perfectly healthy right tackles all year but it looks like the starter was injured for seven of them.
The author does not try to hide these flaws. “It should go without saying that ‘starts’ are not a perfect proxy for ‘team health’ and even if it were, ‘team health’ is not a good proxy for ‘amount by which a team was helped/harmed by injuries,'” wrote FP’s Chase Stuart. “But I did find today’s results interesting enough to share.”
Just because the study is not perfect doesn’t mean it is useless. All teams have such issues during the course of a year and as long as you’re looking at the numbers in a relative sense it’s fine. It is likely that most of the teams in the top 10 had better fortune with injuries than did the teams in the bottom 10. You just can’t try to put too fine a point on it and say that Team X was healthier than Team Y because X is ranked two spots ahead of Y.
To compare, I looked at the 22 players the Redskins anticipated having as starters for the 2014 season. Taking out starts missed for coaching decisions (i.e. player being benched, opening the game in a non-standard formation, etc.) and looking at misses strictly due to injuries, the Redskins averaged 13.4 starts per man. That’s a little better than the Football Perspective numbers had them but still in the ballpark.
There does seem to be some correlation between ranking near the top of this study and winning. The top 11 teams on the list all had winning records. Seven of the bottom eight had losing records.
Spinning this forward, how much will the new strength and conditioning staff, led by Mike Clark, help the Redskins’ injury situation? How much of it is controllable and how much is sheer luck? We will see.
—It’s been 178 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 81 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.
—Days until: Redskins training camp starts 36; Preseason opener @ Browns 50; final cuts 73
If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
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