Quantifying the Packers' injury issues


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy made a frank statement at last week’s NFL annual meetings about the injuries that have befallen the Green Bay Packers in his eight seasons as head coach.

"We've had eight cracks at it and had two healthy football teams," McCarthy told reporters. "One of them was 15-1 and one of them was 13-3."

He was referring to the 2011 and 2007 seasons, respectively.

Some injuries – say the broken collarbone that cost Aaron Rodgers seven-plus games last season – hurt more than others.

So what's the best way to measure the impact of injuries on a team? Football Outsiders has a formula.

In what it calls the Adjusted Games Lost metric, Football Outsiders said the Packers were among the most injured teams in the NFL the last two seasons.

Last season, the Packers ranked 30th in the NFL in adjusted games lost with 104.5. Only the Indianapolis Colts (110.3) and New York Giants (144.6) had more. In 2012, the Packers had the most (108.1).

Here’s how Football Outsiders describes it’s formula:

"(1) Injuries to starters, injury replacements and important situational reserves matter more than injuries to bench warmers; and (2) Injured players who do take the field are usually playing with reduced ability, which is why Adjusted Games Lost is based not strictly on whether the player is active for the game or not, but instead is based on the player's listed status that week (IR/PUP, out, doubtful, questionable or probable)."

The Colts and Packers both were in the bottom three of the rankings each of the last two seasons, and both were playoff teams in each season.

It's been a constant source of introspection for the Packers, but McCarthy does not believe there are any issues with the team's medical, training or strength and conditioning staffs.

"I think it's important to characterize your injuries," McCarthy said. "There's a percentage of them you can't avoid. It's part of the game. When you get into the fatigue injuries and training injuries, that's where you have to take some responsibility of your program. The other part of it is how fast our players are coming back from injuries. You look at the rehab and getting them back on the field. That's something we take a hard look.

"I think we have outstanding personnel in strength and conditioning and our medical group. Our players are cared for at a very high level. We're very comfortable with that. It's something the last three out of four years have been tough."

Since 2008, the Packers have ranked in the top half of the league in Adjusted Games Lost only twice – 2009 (12th) and 2011 (16th) – in what was part of the breakdown in an ESPN Insider piece by Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders.