Injuries affect every team, and I generally hate pointing to them as an excuse for losing games for that reason. Football Outsiders does a decent job breaking down the impact injuries have on teams, though, as they did again with their Adjusted Games Lost metric this year. And their metric shows that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were, at first glance, the eighth-most-injured team in the NFL.
The numbers are not that surprising, overall. The Bucs had a largely healthy defense, but their offense was a disaster: only the New York Giants suffered more injuries. Losing Doug Martin, Mike James, Carl Nicks, Luke Stocker, Tom Crabtree and Mike Williams for all or large parts of the season will hurt a team. And those injuries also played a large part in Greg Schiano losing his job. I'm sure he's annoyed by that, given the fact that injuries are largely random.
That doesn't mean Schiano's excused, though. Some of those numbers are a little overstated. For instance, 30.8 of those games lost were by tight ends. Anyone think that having Luke Stocker back would have made any difference to the offense? No? Okay, good. If we remove those tight end games lost, the Bucs were actually a little luckier than most teams in terms of injuries.
Moreover, the Bucs actually had the healthiest defense in the entire NFL, losing just 9.9 games in total. The defense was, overall, decent -- but it also had a slew of disciplinary breakdowns and some horrible games. Had the Bucs been slightly less lucky in terms of injuries on defense, we may have seen that unit collapse further, too.
Still, the Bucs were unlucky in terms of injuries last year. Hopefully, they can finally get back to being lucky in 2014. It's been a while.