The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were not unlucky with their injuries in 2016. They weren’t lucky either. In fact, they were pretty much just average, according to Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Games Lost metric.
That metric is based on the role of the player who misses a game, and the injury report, with players listed on that report counting for part of a lost game due to expected decreased effectiveness and/or playing time. In other words: Outsiders tries to find some better measure for injury impact than simply looking at played/did not play lists.
And according to this metric, the Bucs saw 77.5 adjusted games lost due to injury, up slightly from 75 games last year. Those numbers ranked them 18th and 22nd overall — slightly below average, but not really particularly unlucky.
The Bucs did miss a number of high-profile players for all or most of the season, including J.R. Sweezy, Vincent Jackson, Jacquies Smith, Charles Sims and Doug Martin. Overall, though, every team has injuries like that and teams just have to deal. Had the Bucs been very lucky with injuries that may have gotten into the playoffs, though—and the Bucs haven’t been on the lucky side of this whole AGL thing in at least five seasons.
One other note from Outsiders’ measurements: the Bucs were the team whose ‘questionable’ players were most likely to suit up among all NFL teams. In other words: the Bucs listed players who were likely to miss the game almost exclusively as doubtful or worse, while using ‘questionable’ to list those with minor injuries they could play through.
Keep that in mind when we see the Bucs’ injury reports fill up with listings of questionable players this season. They’re all pretty likely to actually play, in the Bucs’ case.