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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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Seven Thoughts for Seven Games (Thoughts 1-2)

| October 22nd, 2016

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Thought 1. On the Cutler Injury

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that much of the analysis done on the Bears this season has failed to mention they have been without their starting quarterback for five and a half of the seven contests. Jay has always been undervalued in Chicago, especially by those covering the team and Brian Hoyer’s ability to move the football (without, you know, scoring any points) seemed to convince many reporters that his filling in as signal caller was essentially a push at the position. It’s not.

You ever see Monty Python & the Holy Grail? You know the iconic sequence where King Arthur fights The Black Knight? (Look you stupid bastard, you’ve got no arms left! / Yes I have!) Well that Knight, at that moment in the film, could throw a better deep ball than Brian Hoyer.

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DBB Broken Record: Bears Training Camp Will Be Defined By Health Not Performance

| July 17th, 2014

x There is a chance fourth-round selection Brock Vereen will earn his way into the Bears defensive starting lineup come the end of August.

There is a chance Shea McClellin will thrive in his new role as strong-side linebacker, playing against opposing twos and threes for most of the summer.

There is a chance the new additions at defensive end – Allen, Houston, Young…etc. – will wreck havoc in Bourbonnais and throughout the preseason.

There is a chance the Marquess Wilson will solidify the third wide receiver spot and complete the best receiving corps in the sport.

There is also a chance none of it will matter. A strong chance. Because if Jay Cutler turns the wrong way on his knee during 7-on-7s or Matt Forte takes an awkward shot to the ankle or Brandon Marshall pulls up running through the seam, it will be that moment and nothing else that defines this summer for the Chicago Bears. NFL training camp has become a war of attrition, survival of the fittest, Thunderdome.

It has become a month-long breath hold for every die hard in the league.

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