How are Injuries Affecting The Broncos in 2013?

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It is a well known fact that injuries are part of the game in the NFL. Every team deals with them and while only a few use it as an excuse, it isn’t a valid alibi unless your team is leading the league in that category.

Still, it seems like there have been more players hurt this season than in the past. Perhaps that is due to the fact that Head Injuries, namely concussions, have become of major import to the sports world. Certainly they are more prominent merely from their focus. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries have also been prevalent recently. With the league adjusting it’s Rulebook to prevent players targeting the head area, the players have adjusted to hitting lower to avoid fines. This is the general consensus for the many knee injuries.

According to an article at NFL.com, USA TODAY released data stating–Including the 19 players eligible to return, the rate of players placed on the reserve lists at midseason exceeds the pace of 2010, when an all-time-high 343 players finished the season on Injured Reserve.

That data is supported by ESPN, where teams put 170 players on Injured Reserve by the start of Week 1 in 2013. The numbers have increased in the last few years too.

  • 2013 – 170 players on IR

  • 2012 – 142

  • 2011 – 121

  • 2010 – 135

  • 2009 – 104

  • 2008 – 114

  • 2007 – 125

Through Week 14, here are the damages for each team and their corresponding records.

2013 NFL Players on Injured Reserve

     Rank    TEAM                           COUNT    Record

  • 1   Green Bay Packers………….15………..7-6-1

  • 1   Carolina Panthers…………..15………..10-4

  • 3   Indianapolis Colts…………..14…………9-5

  • 4   Tampa Bay Buccaneers….13…………4-10

  • 4   New York Jets……………….13………….6-8

  • 6   New York Giants……………11………….5-9

  • 6   Pittsburgh Steelers ………..11………….6-8

  • 8   Arizona Cardinals…………..10………….9-5

  • 8  Denver Broncos…………….10……….11-3

  • 8   Oakland Raiders…………….10…………4-10

  • 8  New England Patriots…….10…………10-4

  • 12   Houston Texans…………….9………….2-12

  • 12   Cincinnati Bengals…………9………….9-5

  • 12  Dallas Cowboys………………9………….7-7

  • 15  New Orleans Saints…………8………..10-4

  • 15  San Diego Chargers…………8………….7-7

  • 17  Washington Redskins……..7…………3-11

  • 17  Atlanta Falcons……………….7………..4-10

  • 17  Cleveland Browns ………….7………..4-10

  • 17  St. Louis Rams…………………7………….6-8

  • 21  Buffalo Bills…………………….6…………5-9

  • 21  San Francisco 49ers………..6……….10-4

  • 21  Chicago Bears…………………6………….8-6

  • 21  Miami Dolphins………………6………….8-6

  • 25  Jacksonville Jaguars……….5………..4-10

  • 25  Philadelphia Eagles…………5…………8-6

  • 25  Detroit Lions…………………..5…………7-6*

  • 25  Baltimore Ravens……………5…………7-6*

  • 29  Seattle Seahawks…………….4………..12-2

  • 29  Minnesota Vikings………….4………4-9-1

  • 30  Tennessee Titans…………….3………….5-9

  • 31  Kansas City Chiefs………….2…………11-3

These numbers were taken from Pro Football Reference. The asterisk is for Monday Night’s game that hasn’t occurred yet. By my count, that makes 260 players lost to Injured Reserve in 2013 (through Week 14). As you can see, the Chiefs and Seahawks are two of the least injured teams this season. We know that Seattle has the best depth throughout it‘s roster, although that assumption hasn’t been tested. In the Chiefs case, they have suffered from the injury factor during the last two seasons and being healthy has been a key to their success this year, because they have been drafting high for a few years now and have a stock of quality players (Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Justin Houston, Allen Bailey, Dontari Poe, Eric Fisher). Obtaining a better Quarterback than Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn has been huge also, but I digress. There are other factors in the success rate despite injury. Depth is the way teams overcome the injury hardship, but the schedule, coaching and Front Office can be a big help. Of course preventing injuries altogether solves much of this, and team’s combat that with training and their Strength and Conditioning programs.

Looking at the other end of the spectrum (at the top of the chart above), we see the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers as the two teams with the most players on IR with 15. Off the top of my head, I’d never claim that the Panthers had much depth, but the Packers won the Super Bowl after the 2010 season with 16 players on Injured Reserve, only one more than they currently have. After looking at these numbers, I can see why no coach bothers to use it as an excuse. The heart and determination of a team as well as their focus and ability to overcome adversity, therefore becomes huge.

Looking at the Denver Broncos injury situation in the past, we see the number of injuries they dealt with and their record in the last 5 seasons:

           Year    Number      Record

  • 2008 – 14……………..8-8

  • 2009 – 5……………….8-8

  • 2010 – 11…………….4-12

  • 2011 – 9……………….8-8

  • 2012 – 8……………..13-3

  • 2013 – 10……………11-3*

The matter really is inconclusive due to outside factors. Luck, Karma, Good Fortune or Faith can be attributed as much as Conditioning, Schedule, Weather Conditions, Scheme or Coaching. Injuries to key personnel, like a team’s best playmaker would be difficult to overcome too. A Superstar high priced player that has a major role on a team would decimate it’s chances for the playoffs.

I’m not sure if their is a solution to all this, but I DO know that making the NFL into a “Touch” football league isn’t the answer.

 

Go Broncos!

– Kaptain Kirk

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