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Bears Have Increased Their Talent Level. Now, Can They Stay Healthy?

| May 29th, 2018

There has been a growing feeling among local and national media alike this offseason that the Bears are a team on the rise. Several writers have pegged them as one of the most improved teams in the NFL through both the draft and free agency. Peter King recently declared they had “the best offseason of any team in football.”

It’s no secret that the writers for this site all agree the Bears are poised to make a jump in 2018 (though I have cautioned against letting expectations get too high), but today I want to address the elephant in the room: health.

To put it frankly, the Bears can’t expect to be better than the last few years unless they can find a way to stay healthier. In the last four seasons, Chicago has won 5, 6, 3, and 5 games, and in that time they have consistently been among the most injured teams in the NFL, ranking 27th, 28th, 32nd, and 31st in Football OutsidersAdjusted Games Lost (AGL) metric. This is a useful metric because it weighs starters as more valuable than backups and accounts for playing through injuries as well (click the link above for a more detailed description of how it’s calculated).


By the Numbers

In an attempt to quantify the impact injuries have on team performance, I looked at how well teams did compared to how they ranked in the AGL for that season. I looked at the last five years, giving a sample size of 160 teams, and split them into quartiles (8 teams per group per year, so 40 total). Results can be seen in the table below.

[Editor’s Note: Nope, you’re not alone. I had never heard the word “quartile” either.]

These results clearly show the importance of staying healthy.

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Bears Were Historically Injured in 2016

| August 7th, 2017

Woke up this morning with an email from Africa. That’s right, folks, THE Reverend Dave has made his first contribution to DBB in a monkey’s age. Dave, I have to assume, is the only person reading Peter King’s MMQB on The Dark Continent. Here’s what interested him in the lengthy camp column:

a. Chicago led the NFL last year with 155.1 Adjusted Games Lost. That’s a metric that accounts for injuries to starters and important situational players by counting not only games missed but also games where players were at less than 100 percent because of injury. Chicago had the highest total in FO’s entire injury database, dating back to 2000.

Two things I think about this:

  • The 2016 Bears simply weren’t as bad as many people think. They were historically injured.
  • When you understand that, and understand that the odds of them being historically injured again are not good, you should be able to understand my points about Trubisky. This is the ideal situation to bring a rookie QB into. Improved defense. Strong running game. Good TEs. WRs who will thrive in a short passing attack.

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