For a team to win a Super Bowl a lot of things have to go right. The team has to have a talented roster. It needs to have a good scheme. The team needs to be a cohesive unit.

And they need to have a bit of luck.

One area of luck that plays a big role in team success is injury luck. This was something the Bucs enjoyed quite a bit of in their two Super Bowl championship seasons. Tampa Bay only had one starter on injured reserve in each of those seasons. Nose tackle Booger McFarland in 2002 and right guard Alex Cappa in 2020.

Last year, not so much.

How big of a change was there between 2020 and 2021? According to Football Outsiders the Bucs lost just 30.6 adjusted games due to injury in 2020. That means the accumulated games missed by injured players. Per FO’s metrics they were the least injured team that year.

In 2021 that number jumped to 81.3, which ranked 16th in the league. The 50.7 difference game difference represented the third largest year-over-year increase in the NFL, trailing only the Baltimore Ravens and the New Orleans Saints.

Injuries That Impacted 2021

Bucs CB Carlton Davis III

Bucs CB Carlton Davis III – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

And many of the injuries the Bucs suffered were major contributors. While the team enjoyed a very stable lineup along the offensive line for much of the regular season, the offensive playmakers did face their share of missed games due to injury. Between Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, Antonio Brown, and Mike Evans the Bucs lost 18 games due to injury. Add to that injuries sustained to Scotty Miller, Ronald Jones and Gio Bernard and the team lost another 11 games from key contributors.

On defense the team faced more adversity. Starters Shaq Barrett, Carlton Davis III, Lavonte David, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jordan Whitehead, Vita Vea, and Antoine Winfield, Jr. combined to miss 34 games with another nine games coming from key contributors Dee Delaney and Richard Sherman.

Preparing For 2022

Looking ahead to 2022, it’s important for the team to be prepared for a situation more like 2021 than 2020. Last year, the Bucs were literally picking up street free agents to play in the secondary due to a rash of injuries to that position group. And the team is already preparing.

Free agent additions Keanu Neal, Logan Ryan, Akiem Hicks and Fred Johnson help create more depth. This is to prepare for possible injuries in the new year. Ranking 16th last year means the team about average injury luck. And they should prepare as if they will have about the same luck this year. If they end up with a season more like 2020, all the better.

With each offseason transaction you can see that general manager Jason Licht and his team are trying to strengthen the middle-to-bottom of the roster in order to better weather the potential injury bug. Smart front offices self-evaluate and adapt. It seems the Bucs are attempting to do just that.

Share On Socials

About the Author: Joshua Queipo

Subscribe
Notify of
11 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Eddie
Eddie
16 days ago

I would like to hear that the Medical/Strength department of the Buc to do a self evaluation and implement actions to prevent 2021 injuries from happening again. Sounds like for now, the only solution is to add depth.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  Eddie
15 days ago

What possible solution would they have when your starting WR is chopped down at the knee while he is running across the field.

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  drdneast
15 days ago

OK that is one. What about the rest? It is possible to have some kind of solution

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  Eddie
15 days ago

There is no “solution” to injuries. They happen and from a team perspective, it is mostly a matter of good luck or bad luck, or somewhere in between.

Football is one of the most violent athletic sports. Big guys running around at high speed attempting to knock the snot out of each on every single play.

Horse
Horse
16 days ago

Good article. Seems we were about in the middle as to injuries; my guess is in the 2022 acquisition of players we have addressed those concerns that we knew about. It’s still a roll of the dice.

plopes808
plopes808
16 days ago

This team saw A LOT of soft tissue injuries last season. Hopefully the medical/strength and conditioning team learned from that and are able to help prevent them as much as possible this year.

drdneast
drdneast
15 days ago

In the division playoff the Bucs were without two starting WRs and two backups. We were also without our starting right tackle and his replacement played injured. The starting center also played with an injury. Our starting RB was playing just coming off IR with a hamstring injury. On defense our ROLB was playing with a busted wing. a couple of our DB’s were also hampered with injuries. Despite all of this, we only lost by three points and both the offensive and defensive game plans stunk. I am praying for a much healthier team this year, especially the oft… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
15 days ago

People forget what a wounded team lined up against the Rams. Of course, those same people seek to blame someone like the medical staff. You cited Godwin being targeted. Wirf’s getting his ankle rolled up was obviously caused by the guy who taped him up improperly. Good grief!

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
15 days ago

And yet, despite all those injuries, the Bucs produced the best regular season record in the NFL last season, won their division for the first time in 14 years, won a playoff game, and lost in the divisional round to the eventual Super Bowl Champs by a mere 3 points in the final seconds of the game.

It’s obvious that the Bucs responded as nimbly and as capably as can be to a streak of bad luck with injuries.

twspin
twspin
15 days ago

It’s the roll of the Dice. I don’t think injuries can be prevented. Minimalized, but not prevented. All I worry about is our QB. He is only one big hit away from retirement for good. You can only gamble with father time for so long…….

Horse
Horse
Reply to  twspin
14 days ago

This why I keep pushing for Trask to be the clean up QB; we need to see what we have and where he needs to get better.