Health

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 72 Comments »

You can say what you want about Chip Kelly’s tenure as Eagles coach, but he left one very positive legacy…the Sports Science program. Chip might have been a bit over the top with pushing players to live a certain lifestyle, but the overall ideas of the program have worked well for the Eagles.

Chris McPherson just wrote a good piece for PE.com on how healthy the Eagles have been since 2013.

Football Outsiders released its annual study on the amount of “Adjusted Games Lost” due to injury for 2016. The Eagles had the fourth-lowest total in the league at just 38.4 games, behind only Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Tennessee. Philadelphia ranked first in the NFL in 2013, and has not placed worse than sixth since then. Football Outsiders not only takes the amount of games that players were sidelined, but also factors in their level of involvement because the loss of a starter counts more than an inactive player on gameday.

Yes, the implementation of the Eagles’ sports science program coincides with the recent trend of good health, but director of high performance Shaun Huls says that it is only one part of the equation.

“The thing I think about is the team approach,” Huls said on Tuesday. “I think it shows that there is a good synergy throughout the entire team to support the guys and keep them healthy.”

And

“We’re in a people business. The strength of that information goes as far as what level of relationship you have with that person. It helps with establishing a relationship of trust back and forth, and communication and everyone going in the same direction,” Huls said. “As you monitor guys, train with guys, give them feedback on their progressions, it raises awareness of what they need to do to take care of themselves. I think that was the biggest part, the continuity of training amongst the staff, the consistency of language with the players, and then just being transparent with that information.

“Transparency helps with the guys understanding what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. That changes the conversation in the locker room in terms of how they’re going to recover and what type of training they need from an individual standpoint.”

Whatever they are doing and however they are doing it…sure seems to be working. Let’s hope this trend continues into the future. The frustrating part about this is that the Eagles haven’t been able to take advantage of being healthy. Consecutive 7-9 seasons aren’t anyone’s idea of success (okay, maybe Browns fans).

One interesting nugget in relation to the draft:

The process begins before most players ever set foot inside the NovaCare Complex. The scouting department looks for players with a favorable injury history, as that is a good predictor of their future.

Does John Ross have any chance of being drafted?

Ouch.

I’m no doctor or injury expert. The Eagles obviously have guys that know what to look for with prospects. They aren’t simply looking for players who didn’t miss many games. They want to see if nagging injuries affected performance. They want to know how a player is going to handle the grind of the NFL. College kids play 12 to 14 games. NFL players have a tough Training Camp, 4 preseason games, 16 regular season games and hopefully some playoff games. You could have a rookie go from 12 college games to 24 NFL games. Not every body is ready for that.

There also is the question of value. Jordan Hicks had his share of injuries at Texas, but the Eagles felt he was too good to pass up at pick 84 in 2015. They rolled the dice on him and it paid off. Hicks did miss half his rookie season, but was healthy last year. And there is no question that he is a terrific talent.

When you evaluate someone like Ross, you have to worry about that history. How will he handle the NFL? Ross is a Top 15 talent, but his health is a legit concern and will likely drop him more toward the bottom of the 1st round. One of Chip’s dorky sayings that was actually dead on the money…the key ability is availability. The best player in the world does you know good if he can’t play.

The Eagles have tough decisions to make on several prospects.

  • CB Sidney Jones – Achilles tear at Pro Day
  • TE Jake Butt – tore ACL in bowl game
  • LB Alex Anzalone – only played in 18 games in 4 years
  • DT Jonathan Allen – arthritic condition in shoulders
  • RB Dalvin Cook – shoulder issues
  • WR Mike Williams – serious neck injury in 2015
  • LB Reuben Foster – serious stinger issues

That’s only scratching the surface there are plenty of prospects who have questions. The Eagles will give positive reviews to some of the players, but will take others off the draft board. We’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks.

_


  • Allen3000

    Now if only the 76ers could have such luck….

    Outstanding point in regard to the relationship between value and availability. For awhile there the Eagles gambled on a lot of guys coming off injury and the results were mostly bad. It appears sports science and careful selection of players has helped immensely over the past 3 years or so.

  • bushisamoron

    Great points Tommy. Now please update your banner photo

    • Rellihcs

      You have crappy priorities

    • A Roy

      Let’s wait until we have 3 franchise players worthy of being placed on the banner.

      • Ark87

        He could go with one that doesn’t go out of date. Concrete Charlie, Reggie White, and Dawk maybe?

        • Mac

          It’ll be out of date when Wentz is in the HOF though…

  • Sb2bowl

    It’s amazing that some teams are so slow to develop their own programs concerning sports science. There was an influx of people coming from Australia a few years ago to help out with American sports, but I haven’t ready anything since then.

  • eagleyankfan

    healthy players, #1 in special teams combined with 50 Cents — gets you 50 cents at the end of the day.

    • A Roy

      Well, “the best ability is availability.” It didn’t matter that Johnson was good since he wasn’t on the field. (I know that was self-inflicted.) Don’t you think Dallas’ 13-3 would’ve evaporated if they had OL injuries? Special teams, too… may make the difference in a couple games.

      Although if we had more injuries and worse special teams, Cleveland would’ve had a better draft pick.

      • eagleyankfan

        I hear ya … If Brady was the only NE player to get hurt — would NE win the SB? Point is, there are so many variables (including luck) that play into why teams are successful. GB won a SB with 15 people on season ending IR. Who were those 15? No idea. Don’t get me wrong, there is something to be said for continuity for sure. But teams can easily lose players and not miss a beat or they can lose KEY players and struggle mightily.
        ….
        Years ago, Eagles were 4-0(I think) and lost RC. 1 player killed the team changes. Maybe it’s not how many — but who got injured. If Dallas keeps the o-line and loses Dez for the season does their team still go 13-3? Teams have lost their starting QB and won a superbowl. Just too many variables for me to say ‘if the Eagles stay healthy they are going 13-3’.

        • RobNE

          No

  • scratcherk

    So forget who you want at #14. Who would you be disappointed if the Eagles got at #14?

    Not many ppl would disappoint me other than players who I think would be a reach. I think Charles Harris would be a reach and a bit disappointing, although he sounds like a quality player and I’d be happy if we got him in the second. The other big one is OJ Howard. I totally see the appeal for most people but I would rather roll with what we got and draft elsewhere. Would be disappointed with OL as well. I’d be happy with any of the CBs or top two safeties. Would prefer McCaffrey over Cook. I’d be happy with any of the top three WRs but prefer Davis. I’m undecided on Foster and hope we dont draft Reddick at 14.

    • A Roy

      Well, Howard would certainly test the resolve of those who say BPA. Ross, or anyone injury-prone would disappoint me. I don’t care if we select someone at 14 that the pundits say is “low 1st round” because they don’t know how we or anyone else have evaluated them.

    • Mac

      #14 “Don’t Even” List:

      Ross
      Lattimore
      Foster
      Any RB
      Any QB
      Any P,K,LS

      • xmbk

        I suppose it’s a catch-22, if Lattimore slips his hammies are worse than thought. But he played a full year, is still maturing physically, and will have pro sports science (even though Ohio State is likely close). He likely goes top 5. Jalen Ramsey was a better prospect, but QB probably aren’t going 1-2 this year (though we can hope).

    • sonofdman

      Anyone they draft at 14 will be a disappointment. That player will only be there because 13 other teams passed on him. If he was really a good player then he wouldn’t have dropped to 14 or he has medical issues that will ruin his career. Also, whoever they picked at 14, they probably could have traded back and gotten more picks and the same player. Howie doesn’t know how to draft good players, therefore, the player drafted by Howie won’t be a good player.

      I’m not used to being a Negadelphian, so I thought I would give it a try. How did I do?

      • scratcherk

        :golfclap:

      • Sean Stott

        took me halfway to figure out how great of a post this was

    • Dan

      For me I would be disappointed with Ross, though would welcome Williams & Davis. Ross is to injury prone, didn’t show up big against big comp and I think would struggle coming off the line. He will have his good games but probably against bad teams. I would be fine with McCaffrey but think its a bit of a reach for Cook with his fumbles, background and poor combine. Howard would be good, Foster fine. Would be disappointed with Barnett but would take any of the defense players that are being projected to go before us other than him.

    • sonofdman

      Honestly, I would be most disappointed if they traded back. I don’t know enough to know who is a prospect vs a great prospect and just because Kiper or the “experts” say a player should go somewhere doesn’t mean the Eagles have them rated similarly. But unless they are blown away with an offer they can’t refuse, trading back signifies to me that there was no one at 14 they felt strongly about, which means they would be settling for the player they ended up with. Even if they got the same player after trading back that they would have if they hadn’t traded back, it still means they were willing to risk losing him by trading back.

      • ChoTime

        The logic here is kind of odd, man. The point of the draft is to maximize the value of your picks, not to (to exaggerate your point) obsess about a particular player. If trading back allows them to add more talent to the team, according to their evaluations, then so be it IMO.

        • sonofdman

          I agree with you in general, and I have no strong opinions about any particular player. In the past, I have been in favor of trading back for the exact reasons you stated. But I am hoping that someone that the Eagles rated in a very high tier is available at 14 and the Eagles pick them. That is what I want – at least one player that the Eagles think will be an absolute stud (at any position), that they are excited to draft at 14. If they trade back that means that such a player isn’t there.

          I absolutely agree with your statement “If trading back allows them to add more talent to the team, according to their evaluations, then so be it IMO.” If that is the case, then I hope they do trade back. But what I want is a player to be available at 14 that, according to their evaluations, it would be more valuable to pick that player then to trade back.

          I’m not sure that I explained that well (either time). I am not against trading back. I just hope a player is available at 14 that is so good they would rather draft him then trade back.

          • ChoTime

            Maybe you’re saying a single top player is better than a couple starter-level guys? I can get behind that.

    • xmbk

      I think Howard works if Ertz can handle significant time in the slot.

    • Insomniac

      I had to make it into tiers
      The “Excuse me I creamed my pants” tier

      Solomon Thomas
      Marshon Lattimore
      OJ Howard
      Malik Hooker
      Jamal Adams

      The “I like the player but not the value” tier

      Gareon Conley
      Forrest Lamp
      Haason Reddick
      Leonard Fournette
      Mike Williams
      Corey Davis

      The “I’ll talk myself into it eventually” tier

      Reuben Foster
      Derek Barnett
      Jonathan Allen
      Marlon Humphrey
      Chidobe Awuzie

      The “Give me a spoon and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s while I eat my sorrows away” tier

      Quincy Wilson
      Teez Tabor
      David Njoku
      Charles Harris
      Taco Charlton
      Malik McDowell
      Garrett Bolles
      John Ross
      Christian McCaffery
      Dalvin Cook
      Jabrill Peppers

  • nopain23

    Tommy
    A big omission that list was lattimore and those hammies. the only way he drops is if he has serious red flag medical issues where they are concerned. If that happens do we role the dice at 14?…..

    • Mac

      Let’s not hamstring our defense.

      • A Roy

        You really strained to come up with that one.

        • Sb2bowl

          Almost seems like he pulled his comment out of nowhere

          • Mac

            Holy crap, you guys are cramping my style.

          • Ark87

            Style? You Lacked it. Acid remains.

          • A Roy

            Why are you muscling in to this conversation?

          • Sb2bowl

            You guys are constricting my ability to work without hindrance

          • Mac

            Seize the day.

          • scratcherk
          • D3FB

            You guys are punning too hard. Gonna blow a tire.

          • Mac

            Hmmm… I’ve been trying to figure out how “blow a tire” is a pun. You’ve either got some really weird fetish, or you don’t understand what’s going on here.

            I’ll see myself out.

          • Rellihcs

            I’m thinking he omitted “it” after “punning” – like maybe “gunning it too hard”?

          • Mac

            I see it now… wow… it’s been a long day.

          • D3FB

            I had nothing. Blowing a tire is slang for pulling a hammy.

          • Mac

            Haha… Thanks for explaining that. (the more you know *shooting star*).

          • Rellihcs

            Pundit award for the day goes to you sir.

    • izzylangfan

      Tighten up your rhetoric.

  • izzylangfan

    Chip Kelly also said something like – “He’s in the NFL, so of course he’s injury prone.”

    It seems that all too often when it comes to injury or character concerns teams are overwhelmed by talent and put them high on the draft board.

    • Bert’s Bells

      Man, I wish Chip wasn’t such a crap coach.

  • Sean Stott

    I was going to make a point about how sensitive measurements like Adjusted Games Lost are to small variances, but there is actually quite a large spread from the top teams to the worst teams, 29 vs 155 adjusted games lost.

    You could argue that it’s just as likely for a Beau Allen to get injured as a Fletcher Cox, while Cox getting an injury would increase the metric much more than Allen. That’s simply a random chance, but the disparity of teams at the top vs bottom of this metric tells me there’s something real going on here.

    • ChoTime

      Beat me to it. There is a big difference. But not much correlation with wins.

  • nopain23

    If the iggles elect to go best DB at 14 it appears that by most of the draft buzz it would be humphreys vs conley.

    One can’t cover a teapot and the other couldn’t tackle stephen hawkins.

    I’d prefer they trade back and take T. white or stay out and take BPA which might actually be Howard or 1 of the top 3 WRS. In that case I’d go with Howard.

    • Rellihcs

      Personally, i’d be fine with White or King at 14. I know some would say that’s crazy but I don’t care. That said, Davis or Barnett would make me very happy.

    • xmbk

      Meh, if they like a CB at 14, go for it. Doesn’t matter if he’s 10 spots too soon. It may turn out to be hard to trade back this year, for the same reason everyone wants to see the Eagles do it. Depth of talent. It’s way more important that they be as sure as they can about their talent eval.

    • Stephen E.

      No players with such glaring flaws in their core skill set go in the first round. I mean really: a CB that can’t cover?

      I trust you that both of them cover and tackle better than a slew of players that will be drafted later… or go undrafted.

      • xmbk

        In all fairness, no one runs the teapot drill in practice anymore.

        • Rellihcs

          That’s why everyone is so soft. Sheesh, kids these days.

          Form tackle or you’ll be in hot water!

        • A_T_G

          A lot of corners have trouble with those teapot receivers – short and squat.

        • GermanEagle

          What’s about teabags for rookies though?!

    • Insomniac

      So you would rather take the guy who’s a combination of both?

  • xmbk

    Hmm, would certainly seem to point the team away from Foster and Ross. I don’t think so on Allen, arthritic shoulders are more like to bother him down the line, maybe cut his career a couple of years short. But I really don’t see him dropping into range, unless there is some kind of crazy run. 5 QB and RB before 14 would be nice. 😉

  • Flyineagle45

    I feel like every team but us gets to change their uniforms.

  • CrackSammich

    I dont understand how we keep drafting and signing CBs that should be league average and end up being awful. You’d think by sheer luck we’d find at least one out of the pile that is just okay. I guess there’s always the ghost of Brandon Boykin.

    • scratcherk

      Other than Rowe, we haven’t exactly been spending high resources

      • CrackSammich

        Maxwell got a shit ton of resources.

  • Mac

    Fanspeak CBS board results 5 rounds no trades…

    14: MARLON HUMPHREY
    43: TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE
    99: ETHAN POCIC
    118: CHAD HANSEN
    139: CORN ELDER
    155: DAWUANE SMOOT

    • Rellihcs

      Love the cbs. But no Pocic. And why no RB?

      • Mac

        I wanted to get a RB in round 4/5… but I don’t think I know enough about those guys to feel really confident picking the right one, and the ones I looked at that were the right “value” didn’t seem right for the Eagles.

        • Rellihcs

          I hear you. For me (no guarantee to be there), but in the 3-5 range, Kamara, Perine, Conner, Hunt, Dayes, Gallman… and there’s more I’m missing.

  • PacificPurl
    • CrackSammich

      They run a triple option at Navy. It wasn’t exactly his system, but it might do him some good to go back to simple and them some good to take on a few new concepts.

  • disqus_usAiVLehEM

    That’s the 1st I’ve heard of injury concerns with Reuben Foster. Good eye Tommy.

    But, I wouldn’t be upset if the Birds took him at 14.

  • Rome

    If the aim is to build for the future and you’re sure that Sidney Jones is going to recover from his injury, why not step up and take him in the first round? If he has that sort of talent, you might as well snag him because he won’t last long enough to wait till your second pick. Or you could simply trade back down into a slot and build more assets for future drafts. This team is at least three years from contending as it’s currently constructed, so you might as well take superior talent and focus on 2019-2021 as your target years for Wentz to lead the team deep into the playoffs.

    • FairOaks

      And if the injury history of a player is a factor in their ranking, per this article… no chance at 14. There’s no guarantee that Jones will be the same player after the injury; I don’t think teams are going to risk that, unless the medical records show the injury isn’t as serious as was reported and they feel he’s likely to play a number of games this year.

      He’s going to miss the entire offseason which is incredibly important for rookies; he’s going to be well behind learning-wise even if he does play this year. Eagles do want to win now as well, and while the draft is also for the future, you usually want a player taken at 14 to have an on-field impact in the current year, and leave lottery tickets to later in the draft.

      Jones may be good enough that you would consider using even the 2nd round pick on him, as there is a very good chance he’s still there at 43. The third round…. a lot more doubtful he’d last there.

      • Mac

        If I’m going 1st and 2nd rd CBs then I want Humphrey in round 1 and White/King in rd 2. And… I think we can play those cats this year plus they have room to grow with the team.

  • truehaynes

    Humphrey is gonna be a bust