Eagles

Why does every Eagles player always get hurt?

Eagles

The numbers are almost unbelievable, and they keep getting worse.

The Eagles placed linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill on Injured Reserve Wednesday morning, ending his season after 10 games and three separate injuries.

Nothing new.

If you’re a Philadelphia Eagle, chances are you’ve suffered a serious injury over the last three years.

And if you haven’t … you’re probably about to.

Injuries have decimated the Eagles for a couple years now, and the team has changed trainers and doctors (twice) and nothing has changed.

Why? It’s a heck of a question and the Eagles’ success over the next few years relies heavily on the franchise finding an answer.

Kamu is one of 17 Eagles starters this year to miss at least one full game with an injury, continuing a trend that began in the 2017 Super Bowl season.

Only eight Eagles have started and finished all 14 games this year. Only six made it through last year.  

The only Eagles to start and finish every game since 2017 began are Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce. And Kelce finished last year with a bunch of fairly significant injuries.

But the Eagles’ injury woes go way deeper than just starters. 

Eagles players missed a combined 118 games in 2017, 215 in 2018 and 158 so far this year. That’s nearly 500 games missed.

It’s not the only reason but it’s the biggest reason they were forced to use 63 different players in 2017, 68 last year and 70 so far this year.

 

Howie Roseman doesn’t do interviews during the season, but in a chat with reporters in January, he acknowledged that this is something the Eagles really need to take a long look at. 

His comments still apply.

“I think when you look at our IR list there are a lot of good players on that list,” Roseman said. “There is no doubt about it. We have to study, we have to figure out ways to continue to get healthier and to keep our players on the field. It's something that we don't take for granted and something that we want to improve on because we know that it affects our record, it affects the bottom line of it. … It's something that we're going to take a long look at and study and try to get better at.”

An NFL analytics site, Football Outsiders, determined that Eagles had the most games lost last season after ranking 13th in 2017. Data from this year won’t be available until after the season, but they’ll presumably be close to the top.

Overall, some 122 different players have gotten into a game for the Eagles since opening day 2017. Of the 12 winningest teams in the league during that three-year span, that’s the most. 

That's not all injuries. But a huge chunk of it is.

The Eagles have already made major changes in their training and medical staff in each of the last two offseasons.

They changed trainers after the 2017 season, hiring Jerome Reid and promoting Joe O’Pella to assistant trainer. They also added a director of rehabilitation, Shireen Mansoori, and made a number of changes in the medical staff as well, replacing long-time team physicians Peter DeLuca and Gary Dorshimer and bringing in Stephen Stache.

This past offseason, they replaced Stache after just one season and hired Arsh Dhanota in the newly created position of chief medical officer.

The strength and conditioning staff – Shaun Huls, Josh Hingst and Keith Gray – has been intact since early in the Chip Kelly Era.

I asked Doug Pederson Wednesday if the Eagles’ rash of injuries is something the franchise needs to examine or simply the product of playing a violent game.

“In our last couple years we've played into February and then well into January, and it's a lot of games and it’s a lot of wear and tear on bodies,” Pederson said. “These types of things are going to happen. The amount of contact and the amount of collisions and things that go on, not only during the week but also during the course of a game, are unbelievable. … If you were on the field listening to the collisions and the things these guys go through, that's why I appreciate what every player does. Injury is part of it.”

But most of the guys on Injured Reserve weren’t a part of those playoff runs. DeSean Jackson, Malik Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway, Darren Sproles and Rudy Ford, to name some.

And a lot of the guys who have missed no games or very few games – Jenkins, Kelce, Brandon Graham, Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox – have been a part of them.

 

The Eagles won a Super Bowl in 2017 despite losing Sproles, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks and Carson Wentz. 

The injuries have doubled since, and we’ve never really seen the football team the Eagles were supposed to be.

Just over the last three years they’ve started 9 running backs, 11 wide receivers, 9 defensive tackles, 10 linebackers and 12 cornerbacks.

It’s a tough way to win. Really, it’s a nearly impossible way to win.

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