Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Jan 2010

Mike Tanier Chat At The Fifth Down Blog

Go chat with Mike Tanier at the New York Times's Fifth Down Blog right now!

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 11 Jan 2010

19 comments, Last at 11 Jan 2010, 6:13pm by bubqr


by Temo :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 2:11pm

Only because you exclaimed it.

by jeff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 2:32pm

From a fan's point of view, the Eagles seemed to have an unduly large number of injuries this year. Is this objectively so? In this regard, among other things, the Eagles seemed to have had an abnormally high number of injuries at the linebacker and offensive line spots. If I remember the Almanac Comment on the Chargers this year, you would in any case expect that the large number of games lost by the linebackers would lead one to expect a significant uptick the following year.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 3:03pm

Without looking at aggrigate man-games-lost numbers, it seemed like the problem wasn't so much the injuries, but the concentration of positions.

The average QB is probably going to get around 14 starts - having a guy miss 2 games is pretty normal.

The issue seemed to me that when Stewart Bradley went down, there was no plan B in place. They scrambled all season, and never really did replace him, which, in turn, exposed other weaknesses in the D.

Same with the OL. They had to work a lot of new faces in, and some busted, some got hurt, and it became patchwork all season. The Plan A of Peters/Herrimans/Jackson/Andrews/Andrews never saw a single snap all season.

But when you net it out over 16 weeks and an 53 man roster, I don't think they really had more injuries then everyone else. Just that they seemingly all hit 2 positions.

by Tim Wilson :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 3:24pm

OL is actually 5 positions, and LB is 3. It's not fair to say QB is one position and OL is one position, and their injuries were "concentrated" at one position.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 3:49pm

Fine. Replace "position" with "area" and replace "one" with "a couple." Then nitpick further.

by ElJefe :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 4:29pm

Yes, OL is five positions and QB is one. But teams carry three QBs and not fifteen offensive lineman. When OL #8 is starting a team is usually in trouble, and that's the situation the Eagles were in by week 17 and the playoffs.

What else is being overlooked here: The Eagles were also missing a starting WR and RB. The loss of Kevin Curtis wasn't terribly noticeable because Jeremy Maclin played reasonably well in his place, and LeSean McCoy was pretty good in place of Brian Westbrook. But if everyone was healthy the Eagles would still have been better off for this year with the veterans instead of the rookies. Playing a playoff game short 5 of 11 starters is a pretty good way to lose.

Overeducated Layabout

by tommy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 3:58pm

As for linebackers, Bradley missed 16 games, the next in line as starter for MLB, Omar Gaither, missed 11 games, Jordan the starter (at the time) at WLB missed 4 games, Gocong missed one, With respect the Chargesr comment this year, FO wrote,"On defense, AGL by linebackers hace a much stronger correlation with improving defence than AGL by defensive lineman. the Chargers had 18.3 AGL from starting linebackers, leading the NFL. " It would seem the Eagles lost a lot more games at linebacker than the Chargers last year.

by Bill Barnwell :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 3:23pm

I haven't run the AGL numbers for this season yet, but I will say this. Do you know how many games the Eagles' 11 defensive starters missed last year?


Asante Samuel missed one game, I believe the Cardinals game on Thanksgiving. That was it. Philly's defense wasn't injured more than league-average this year, I would guess.

by Tim Wilson :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 3:25pm

I think those arguing that the Eagles were injury victims (of which I am not one) would say that Stewart Bradley should be counted as a defensive starter.

by Bill Barnwell :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 3:35pm

By last year, I mean "2008", sorry.

by Temo :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 4:13pm

Dallas in '09 may end up having one of the best AGL numbers in your database history.

by ElJefe :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 4:22pm

Agreed. This is likely the Cowboys' best shot at winning a Super Bowl in the foreseeable future. The balance of talent in the NFL generally makes the postseason the survival of the fittest.

But ... this is the third year in a row where Dallas has extremely good AGL numbers. Once is lucky, twice is suspicious, three times ... they may be on to something. Would you be able to calculate AGL for the Bills when Phillips was the head coach? Could the Son of a Bum be playing a role here?

Overeducated Layabout

by Temo :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 4:30pm

Actually, I think it's something like:

05- Good
06- Good
07- Great
08- Average
09- Awesome

As I can recall, anyway. Don't have the stats in front of me. I am sure of 08 being "Average", though-- what with Austin, Romo, Kosier, Barber, Felix, Anderson, Davis, Newman and others being injured.

by bubqr :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 4:58pm

You're right : Cowboys 2008 AGL : 53.3, 18th in the league.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 5:05pm

There was an article a while back (PFP '08?) which theorized that their training staff may do something unique to cause this trend. There was anecdotal evidence - specifically regarding Marc Columbo - but I don't recall their being enough data to do anything other then note the trend.

by bubqr :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 4:54pm

My guess of 2009 Eagles AGL (That's why I was asking for it).

Defense : Tommy summed it up well : 16 for Bradley, 11 for Gaither, 4 for Akeem Jordan, 1 for Chris Gocong, you might count 3 for Abiamiri too, as he was the projected starter. Overall : 32-35 AGL

Offense : 16 for Shawn Andrews, 1 for Jason Peters, 5 for Herremans, 1 for Jamaal Jackson, 13 for Curtis, 8 for Desean Jackson, 1 for Maclin : 44 AGL

You could even add 8 for Ellis Hobbs, 4 for Quintin Demps if you count Kick Returner as a starting position.

Overall : 76-91 AGL

Not sure if my calculations are really precise but still, even the lowest number (76) would have been rated 27 in the league last year.

by Dean :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 5:06pm

Add 2 more for McNabb. Which still does not make an unusually high number.

by bubqr :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 6:13pm

I don't know the exact method. I think that it is adjusted based on position and player skill, but I can't seem to find it.

27th in the league is not "unusual", but is quite a lot.

by ElJefe :: Mon, 01/11/2010 - 5:17pm

I think you meant 8 for Brian Westbrook, and can add 1 for DeSean Jackson. Plus some vague number for Stacy Andrews (inactive for 6 games, not entirely due to injury; ineffective for 16 games, partially due to injury).

Checking on ESPN's Eagles page informs me that Reggie Brown is one of the Eagles' starting WRs. Hah!

Overeducated Layabout