2017 NFL Preseason Injury Breakdown

Final analysis of the 2017 NFL Preseason Injury Breakdown. Looking at the injuries that occurred, how many service years, position, and by team.

As promised, the long awaited preseason breakdown! This article has been difficult to write due to accuracy and constant changes. As the first game of the NFL season has already been played by the time of this publication, I can say these are the final numbers. At the end of the day, the NFL is a business, players are looking for jobs, and something as simple as an injury can derail those prospects. The intended purpose of this article is to identify types of injuries, breakdowns involving teams, years played, and when the injury occurred. At the beginning of training camp, at least 2,880 players vie to make an NFL roster. Of those 2,880 players, only 1,696 reach their goal. That’s only 59% of the players that make it. This doesn’t account for all those who were unfortunate enough to be injured, cutting short their chances even before they had a shot.

As of 9/8/17, 328 players have sustained some sort of injury during the preseason that has sidelined them to either miss significant time or season ending. Of those that had sustained significant injury, 211 went to IR, 117 went to IR with an injury settlement which meant that once healthy they could sign with another team. Out of those 117, 3 players have already resigned with different teams. To understand what an injury settlement means, please check out this article.

Out of the reported injuries, the knee was the most common body area for injuries. 66 players sustained injuries which includes 29 ACL tears with a scattering of general knee injuries and meniscus, other ligament damage, or patellar tendon tears. This was followed by 31 ankle injures, 29 thigh injuries mostly consisting of hamstring strains, and 23 shoulders consisting of generalized shoulder injuries. Following up the breakdown of injuries, 21 arm injuries consisting of arm, elbow, wrist, hand, finger; 15 head injuries consisting of concussions, 13 back injuries consisting of disc issues; 12 hip injuries consisting of groins, and finally 8 lower leg injuries with mostly fractures. The remaining injuries were 32 undisclosed and 59 unknown.

Some of the teams were hit harder than others with the injury bug. Leading the way with injuries was the Colts with 17. Following close behind with 16 was the Jaguars and with 15 was the 49ers and Ravens. Tied for 14 are the Texans and Panthers. This was followed by the Giants with 13; Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Bears with 12. The teams with the least amount of injuries were the Broncos, Vikings, and Raiders with 5 and Packers with 6. As this is a Bills blog, the Bills finished with 8 players injured. Most Bills players were waived with injury settlements which meant that had they not gotten injured, they may have been cut.

During this analysis of player injuries, the highest number of injuries by position was at WR with 60. This was followed by LB at 49, CB at 40, followed up by TE at 28, and S at 26. The least hurt position was K with 0 and P with 1. Considering that the highest injuries involved positions with a wide variety of high impact movements, this is not surprising. Overall, 162 Defensive players were injured, 162 Offensive players were injured, and 4 special teams injured.

It was found that if a player was new to the league, the chances of injury were drastically higher. Out of the years of service, 100 rookies were injured, 70 2nd yr players. 58 3rd yr players, and 37 4th year players. According to ESPN, the average NFL career is about 3.3 years. Out of the 328 players injured, 265 fell in that time frame which accounted for nearly 81% of injuries.

Finally, while there is little information on when the injuries occurred, I was able to find that as the preseason wore on, injures increased. Preseason game 1 brought 19 injuries. Game 2 brought 12, Game 3 brought 24, and Game 4 brought 31. There has been talks to reduce preseason games, reducing the last 2 games alone would reduce 54 injuries or 16.7% of injuries in the preseason. Many more occurred in practice or in an unknown, but NFL setting.

Going down the rabbit hole, out of the 29 ACL tears, 11 were rookies. Looking at other injuries, no other trends stood out that was alarming; a variety of hamstring, foot, ankle, and concussions. Out of 2nd year players, 6 had ACL tears, but no one other group of injuries lead the way. Looking at 3rd year players, 4 ACL tears occurred with no other significant injuries noted. So to recap, 21 of the 29 ACL injuries were sustained by players 3 years or younger in the league. This brings up the question, are these players coming into the league not physically prepared? Are they not adapting to the increased speed of game play? What is the root cause? I do not have the answers at this time.

Finally, out of the ACL tears, the 49ers and Patriots were hit hardest with 3 players lost for the season with ACL tears. There were several other teams with 2 which included the Bears, Dolphins, Ravens, Seahawks, and Texans. For 29 tears over the course of the preseason between 32 teams, 7 teams accounted for 18 of the 29 ACL tears which comes out to 62% of the tears this preseason alone. Once again, what are the factors behind this? Coaching? Field surface? Luck? Many different factors at play.

I know that this breakdown only scratches the surface of the injuries during the preseason. I know that further analysis can be inferred from the raw data. At the end of the article, the raw data will be available for you to analyze and process at your own leisure. If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, please message me and I will get back to you. Thank you for reading and please continue to come back for further information! Future articles will consist of revisiting the Kevin Everett cervical injury 10 years ago and injury breakdown following Bills-Jets game.

NFL Training Camp Injuries 2017

That’s A Wrap!

Assessing the injuries coming out of the 4th preseason game against the Detroit Lions. Breaking down the IR, how it compares to past seasons, and upcoming posts.

The Buffalo Bills won over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night 27-17 behind a strong showing behind Nathan Peterman and company. With that win, Buffalo finishes the preseason 1-3 on a high note and ready for the home opener against the Jets in Week 1. Overall, the Bills continue this preseason by avoiding major injury, allowing them to have some depth going into the regular season. Injuries to note are Jerel Worthy’s concussion at the end of the first quarter which sent him into the concussion protocol for the foreseeable future. Michael Ola sustained an ankle injury in the first half and was unable to return. Besides the previously two mentioned, the rest of the game consisted of bubble players getting final chances at securing their roster spots.

As it was relatively a quiet preseason injury wise for the Bills, there are still some injuries to report. Right after the Lions game, the Bills had to make some hard decisions regarding their roster. As previously mentioned, TE Keith Towbridge was placed on IR with a foot injury back on 8/3/17 and TE Jason Croom was waived with an ankle injury and settlement on 8/18/17. Right now, there are no locks for IR as Michael Ola has been waived/injured, which means he may revert to IR and then released with an injury settlement in several days. I believe this to be the case as Ola had his ankle taped up after his Thursday night injury, possibly attempting to go back in. This would suggest his ankle was sprained and cost him a roster spot as the Bills had what they thought to be enough depth at the position.

Those released with injury settlement were as follows: WR Rod Streater (Toe), S Shamiel Gary (Unknown), WR Jeremy Butler (Concussion), and LB Sam Barrington (Unknown). As previously mentioned, Streater sustained what I believed to be a turf toe injury back against the Eagles. While I still believe it was a Grade II sprain, it may have been too injured to warrant holding a roster spot. Up to that point, Streater was having a solid preseason. He could be eligible to come back later in the season if the Bills run into depth issues, but it is too early to tell.

Butler was a long shot to make the roster, but he sustained what now appears to be a fairly serious concussion back on 8/8/17 and hasn’t fully recovered. Losing reps while recovering most likely cost him a roster spot. It is unknown what stage he is at in the league concussion protocol, but considering he has not been medically cleared yet, he may be still in Phase 1-2. There was little to no information on the nature of Barrington’s or Gary’s injury or when they sustained the injury. I have only been able to find that Gary came out of the Eagles game early but no description of the issue.

As the Bills are still dealing with injuries such as Taylor, Yates, and Worthy in the concussion protocol, along with Dareus’ hip and Glenn’s foot, these should not prevent these players from missing extended time. As the front office continues to shake things up releasing RB Jonathan Williams, LB Gerald Hodges, and WR Philly Brown yesterday, I am pleased to see that they are not having to replace players out of desperation.

These injuries this preseason are a stark contrast to the past several years in which multiple, big name players found their way onto IR or had significant injuries coming into the season. Going back the past several training camps, 2016 saw 10 players start the season on IR with Shaq Lawson designated to return. 2015 saw 3 players on IR and Marquis Goodwin missing most of the season with significant issues. 2014 saw 4 players out including Kiko Alonso already out due to an off season ACL tear. Looking back further, most seasons start off with 3-4 players on IR or missing large chunks of time. I had to go back to 2011 in where only one player started on IR and the noteworthy IR placements came with Kyle Williams and Eric Wood later in the season. That team if you remember, finished 6-10.

This wraps up the preseason for the Buffalo Bills with depth appearing to finally be where it needs to be at to have a realistic shot at staying in games when a starter goes down. In the next several posts, look for a final analysis of all the preseason injuries in the NFL, dissecting the severity of injury, trends, and what this means for the upcoming season. For the dedicated Bills fan, I will be doing a post on the 10 year anniversary of TE Kevin Everett’s neck injury with a retrospective look at what occurred and the outcomes afterward. I look forward to further educating my fellow Bills fans, other football fans, and growing this endeavor! Go Bills!