Remember the anguish. Nostrils flaring. Clenched fists. Teeth. Bernard Pierce, probable. Lardarius Webb, questionable. Eugene Monroe, knee. Matt Elam, shoulder. Michael Campanaro, out. Injuries knocked the wind out of us, Ravens fans, over, and over in 2014.
Yet Football Outsiders says that the Ravens' suffered less than 25 other squadrons.
Football Outsiders conducted research and calculated Adjusted Games Lost (AGL) to quantify how much teams were affected by injuries. The Ravens were seventh. Seventh best in the league. Over the past two seasons, they have had the third-best (or third least-affected), ranking. My dad would say, "Unberievable."
What does the AGL measure? Not total injuries. The AGL factors in two key ingredients.
1. Whether the injuries happened to starters, their injury replacements or situational reserves.
2. How healthy a player may have been during the game by factoring in their status on the injury report leading up to the game. For example, say a player suits up but he's listed as doubtful or questionable. Their performance may, or may not, be impacted.
The Ravens secondary was smashed into bits and crumbs last season. The rest of the roster stood their ground. Cornerbacks Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Tramain Jacobs, Asa Jackson, Aaron Ross and Danny Gorrer all went up against a cold deck.
Per Ravens.com Ryan Mink, Head Coach John Harbaugh and the staff is the reason the Ravens prevents injuries. They invest a lot of time, research and the Benjamins to keep their players on the field. Says Mink:
"His practices reflect that investment. For example, Harbaugh isn’t a stickler when it comes to the team’s aging veterans participating in voluntary Organized Team Activities (OTAs). While the Ravens practice hard, Harbaugh works to protect the players."
The head coach brings in health specialists each year -- from stretching gurus to massage therapists -- to aid with our players' recovery. Four full-time athletic traineres, two strength and conditioning coaches also play integral parts in keeping the players upright.
(We miss you Dennis Pitta.)