Football Outsiders has come out with its Adjusted Games Lost formula for 2016 to tell us the teams most and least impacted by injuries.
Don’t get crazy with the name. The idea is simple. They don’t just look at games players missed due to injuries. They correctly note that teams are also impacted by injuries that do not keep players out of games. If somebody is playing through an injury, his effectiveness will likely be reduced.
To compensate for it, they look through the injury report and add a fraction of a game to players who appear during the week but still play on Sunday. They also count injuries to starters more than injuries to benchwarmers. This is not a perfect system since teams aren’t always honest, and not all injuries are created equal. It is a system that does a better job than looking solely at games missed, though.
Under this system, the Jets lost 110.5 games to injury in 2016. That was fourth most in the league. Minnesota, San Diego, and Chicago were the only teams that lost more games.
When things fail on the epic level they did for the Jets last year, I don’t think you can ever pinpoint one problem as the key. I do think injuries hurt the Jets last season, and I look at the wide receiver position as a big reason. The Jets’ 2015 success on offense primarily ran through their top two receivers, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
The Jets lost Decker early in 2016. It also flew under the radar, but Marshall was on the injury report for almost the entire season. You didn’t hear a lot about it, but he was playing through some stuff which probably hurt his effectiveness. Without these guys to carry the load, the offense stalled.
Again, the problems ran deeper, but this was not an insignificant problem, especially considering how much of the load the Jets needed these guys to carry.