The numbers are staggering.
The Redskins finished the season with 20 players on injured reserve. There were a few more who spent some time on IR who were waived. Starters and key reserves missed a combined 145 games.
The injuries that caused missed games hit from head (concussions suffered by S Montae Nicholson, TE Niles Paul, and others) to toe (DL Terrell McClain) and just about everywhere in between.
Were all of the injuries just simply bad luck? Certainly, some of them were. But could many of them have been prevented? Safety D.J. Swearinger, who came to the team in March after playing for three different teams in four years in the league, thinks so.
MORE REDSKINS: 2017 SUPERLATIVES
“I’ve been on a team where a lot of guys got injured but I’ve never been on one with this many injured because we’re not in shape or not doing the things we need to do to stay on the field,” said Swearinger. “Some injuries are freak injuries, you can’t control them. Pulls and strains and things like that you can sort of control those things with hydration, getting your treatment when you don’t need it, little things like that can definitely control those smaller injuries.”
Swearinger has some credibility when it comes to being able to stay on the field. He was on the injury report just once this year. In his previous four seasons in the league, he missed just two games with a toe injury.
Ryan Kerrigan also is someone to whom everyone should listen on the subject of injury prevention. He has started every game since the Redskins drafted him in 2011, a streak of 112 regular-season games.
The Redskins’ 2017 sack leader said that he tries to incorporate something different into his offseason regime every year, whether it’s something like improving his flexibility or taking a food allergy test to see what he needed to change in his diet. This offseason he plans to follow up on a tip he got from 13-year veteran tight end Vernon Davis, who has missed just five games since becoming the starter in San Francisco in 2007.
“He said he takes care of himself the same way in the offseason as he does in the season,” Kerrigan said of his conversation with Davis. “That was something that really kind of struck me, kind of stuck with me. You start to think, during the season you do all of this stuff to take care of your body and maintain. Out of season you lift and you run but you might not do as much of the chiropractic work and cold tub and stuff like that. I think that’s key not only for guys like myself with eight years in the league but also young guys can develop those habits.”
Jay Gruden said that the organization will take a look at all aspects of injury prevention and treatment to see if they can improve their chances of keeping players on the field.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that’s something we have to take a close look at, whether it’s recovery after games, whether it’s how to prevent injuries, how we practice, what have you,” said Gruden during his year-end press conference on Tuesday.
Gruden went on to say that many of the injuries the team suffered were just football injuries that really can’t be avoided. But he said that he will not write it the mountain of injuries off to bad luck.
“How many of them are actually preventable?” he asked rhetorically? “That’s what we have to look at.”
Gruden said that he didn’t anticipate any changes being made to the training staff. They will look at everything they can do to keep the players on the field.
“What we can do though is do a better job maybe of the postgame recovery or give them some more options as far as maybe, I don’t know, yoga, Pilates, I don’t know what it is,” he said. “Could be something. We’ll look into everything we can.”