For the fourth year in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles were one of the healthiest teams in the NFL. According to an annual study from Football Outsiders, the 2016 Eagles were the fourth healthiest team in terms of AGL (Adjusted Games Lost). Here’s how the Eagles rank over the past four seasons.
2016 - 4th
2015 - 6th
2014 - 5th
2013 - 1st
A key difference between those years is that Chip Kelly was the head coach for the first three. It was widely known he brought a top-grade sports science program from Oregon with him to Philadelphia.
But despite the fact the Eagles fired Kelly and hired Doug Pederson to be his replacement, Philadelphia still managed to stay healthy. And it just so happens that the Eagles kept Kelly’s sports science program around after his departure.
There are plenty legitimate reasons for Eagles fans to begrudge Kelly. But at the very least it seems he brought a worthwhile injury prevention measure to Philadelphia. The longer the Eagles continue to be one of the healthiest teams in the NFL, the harder it is to believe it’s solely a function of good luck.
Perhaps the biggest testament to the Eagles’ health last year was that rookie quarterback Carson Wentz started all 16 games. Philadelphia hadn’t had a quarterback do that since Donovan McNabb in 2008.
The hope is that the Eagles can continue to sustain this edge moving forward and translate it into actual on-field success. Despite being relatively healthy, the Eagles only went 7-9 in each of the past two seasons.
(Hey btw can we please get the Sixers on that Eagles sports science stuff?)