Chicago Sun-Times

Ouch! Bears weren't the only ones hurting in 2007

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There was a team more banged up than the Bears this season.

In fact, there were seven of them.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News charts annually the effects of injuries leaguewide, and filed his report earlier this week. It’s worth checking out.

By Gosselin’s count, the Bears lost 60 games by starters (from the outset of the season) to injury.

The Bears trailed Buffalo (89), Indianapolis (81), Arizona (75), St. Louis (71), Miami (70), Houston (64) and Denver (63). Notice, the Colts were the only one of the bunch to make the playoffs. In fact, Indy and Washington (57) were the only two clubs in the top 12 to qualify for the postseason.

Meanwhile, of the league’s nine healthiest organizations, five qualified for the playoffs—Tennessee, the Giants, San Diego, Green Bay and New England. Staying healthy didn’t do a lot for the New York Jets, who lost only 20 starts.

The most injured team in the league, Buffalo, had 17 players placed on injured reserve. Yet the Bills remained in the playoff hunt into December.

The Sun-Times tracked the number of man starts lost by the Bears, counting starts for players who become starters during the season. So, after Dusty Dvoracek went down in the opener at San Diego with a knee injury that cost him 15 starts, Darwin Walker became the man. When knee injuries knocked him out of the lineup after the first game in Green Bay, his missed starts were added to the list. Anthony Adams filled in and when a ruptured triceps muscle prematurely ended his season after the game in Washington, the final three games he missed were added to the list, and so on. The Bears wound up at 20 at nose tackle using this system as it was a revolving door next to Tommie Harris.

Total all that up and the Bears were down 76 man starts, 57 of which came on the defensive side of the ball. Of course, the Bears compiled 30 alone in the opener at San Diego between Dvoracek and free safety Mike Brown. It wasn’t quite as bad as 2004 when their were 80 lost starts using this system, or 2002 when there were 77. When the Bears reached the Super Bowl last season, they were one of the healthiest bunches in the league with only 26, 10 by Brown.

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There is no doubt that injuries set the defense back in 2007, but so did poor tackeling. One thing the numbers in the article couldn't show was the "walking wounded." Everyone knows that Tommie Harris was half the player he normally is and Urlacher's back was easy to see on the field. If they return healthy next year you have to believe the defense is automatically better.

Injuries weren't the offenses problems. There needs to be a massive transfusion of talent on that side of the ball.

Poor team management is the problem.

We definately need help on offense and I don't deny the defense woulda been better w/o the injuries but the fact of the matter is both sides of the ball still need help. If we lose Briggs we'll be hurting on D because a servicable OLB is just a bit of a drop off from a Pro Bowl OLB. If we lose Berrian our passing game will be even more embarrassing. Here's hoping for a miracle draft and those two resigned.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 13, 2008 10:16 AM.

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