The Ravens were decimated by injuries last year, right?
Maybe not as much as you think.
A study by Football Outsiders calculates Adjusted Games Lost (AGL) to quantify how much teams were affected by injuries. The Ravens had the NFL's seventh-best mark last year and have had the third-best ranking over the past two seasons.
Only the Eagles and Jets had better marks than the Ravens over the past two years. The New York Giants had the worst string of injuries.
The measure doesn't just account for total injuries. It takes into account two key factors.
It notes whether the injuries happened to starters, their injury replacements or situational reserves. It also takes into account how healthy a player may have been during a game by factoring in their status on the injury report leading up to a game. For example, if a player suits up after being listed as doubtful or questionable, their performance may be impacted.
The Ravens' injury toll last year wasn't as grand as other teams across the entire roster. It really just hit one position (cornerback) hard. Cornerbacks Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Tramain Jacobs, Asa Jackson, Aaron Ross and Danny Gorrer all missed significant time.
So how do the Ravens stay so healthy? Part is luck, but Head Coach John Harbaugh and the team invests a lot of time, research and capital in keeping players on the field. 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.
"They're doing a good job of learning how to practice, how to stay up, how to play fast, how to not fall down, how to take care of one another," Harbaugh said during the team's second week of OTAs.
Harbaugh has also brought in health specialists each year, from stretching gurus to massage therapists to aid with recovery. The Ravens have four full-time athletic trainers, as well as two strength and conditioning coaches.