In 2011, the Philadelphia Eagles entered the season with talks of a Super Bowl season, especially with the signings of five former Pro Bowl players (and a trade for a sixth) to upgrade their roster.
There were a million reasons why the team struggled.
Blown fourth quarter leads, the struggles of first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, Michael Vick’s regression, DeSean Jackson’s contract issues, terrible tackling by linebackers and safeties.
But what a lot of fans didn’t realize was that the team stayed extremely healthy throughout the majority of the season.
According to a study conducted by Football Outsiders, the Philadelphia Eagles had the second healthiest team in the National Football League during the 2011 season.
Only the Baltimore Ravens had a healthier team.
Let’s look at the injuries for the Eagles last year.
Quarterback Michael Vick missed three games with broken ribs. Running back LeSean McCoy missed the season’s final game with an ankle injury. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin missed three games with hamstring and shoulder problems. Left tackle Jason Peters missed two games with hamstring problems. Left guard Evan Mathis missed a game with turf toe. Defensive end Trent Cole missed two games with a calf injury. Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon missed the season’s final 12 games with a torn triceps. Cornerback Asante Samuel missed the season’s final two games with a hamstring injury, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie missed three games with a hamstring injury. And safety Nate Allen missed a game after a concussion.
That’s a listing of every relevant Eagles injury in 2011, and if you notice, they were all very minor injuries. One game, two games, three games. The only big injury was to defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, and that may even have been a blessing in disguised because it gave Derek Landri an opportunity to show his abilities.
Knowing all of this, it’s amazing that the Eagles still only went 8-8 in 2011, especially when you consider a team like the New York Giants, who won the Super Bowl despite ranking 26th in injuries. (The other Super Bowl team, the New England Patriots, ranked 30th in injuries.)