There’s cracklings of content coming from Football Outsiders as they compile their numbers and get started on their big almanac, a national treasure, that reawakens my love for football every year. One of the key statistics they have is adjusted games lost, which is defined below from their website:
Adjusted Games Lost (AGL): Measurement of the cost of injuries, both in terms of missed games and games where players were not able to play to their full potential. Estimates a number of games based on whether players are listed as Probable, Questionable, Doubtful, or Out. Introduced in Pro Football Prospectus 2008 essay, “The Injury Effect.”
Adjusted games lost, and health is one of those wonky stats that tends to fluctuate without reason every year. Like its brethren one possession record, wins above expected, and turnover differential, teams who live on the outskirts of the bell curve one season, tend to roll their way back to the middle the next.
In 2017 the Texans finished 4-12. One of the main reasons for this was injuries. Deshaun Watson shredded his knee, J.J. Watt missed just about the entire season, Lamar Miller was banged up, D’Onta Foreman was lost for the year, Nick Martin missed time, Will Fuller was hurt of course, it was a talented team that had to play Tom Savage, and the results were disastrous. That season Houston finished 29th with 107.3 adjusted games lost.
Last year things weren’t great, but they were better. Watt played the entire season along with Jadeveon Clowney, DeAndre Hopkins, and Deshaun Watson. They lost Seantrel Henderson immediately, Andre Hal eventually came back, and Will Fuller once again sat on the best. Houston finished 20th with 89.6 adjusted games lost, which is regression to the mean.
If you want to know how the rest of the AFC South fared, Tennessee finished 11th, Jacksonville finished 27th after dealing with their own season from hell, and the Colts finished 30th, and still made the postseason.
Like those other high variance statistics, keep these numbers in mind once we are all able to actually think about the 2019 season, instead of chew on what just happened this past offseason.