What was the biggest factor in the Bears’ turnaround in 2018? Trading for All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack? Hiring Coach of the Year Matt Nagy? The development of their young starting quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky?
Or was it just the dumb luck of not suffering many significant injuries?
FootballOutsiders.com uses an advanced metric called “adjusted games lost” to show which teams were hurt the most by injuries. The metric incorporates not only how many games were missed by players on any team, but also whether those games were missed by starters or backups, and also which teams had a lot of players who were at less than 100 percent because they missed practice during the week with injuries. It’s probably the single best metric to answer the question, “How healthy was this team?”
And the answer is, the Bears were very healthy in 2018. After being very unhealthy in 2017.
Chicago ranked as the third-healthiest team in the NFL in 2018, after ranking 31st in 2017. No team in the NFL improved more on the injury front than the Bears last season.
Unfortunately for the Bears, staying healthy is mostly a matter of getting lucky, and teams that have a sudden improvement in their health often regress toward the mean the following season. The Bears may have to count on their roster depth more this season than they did last season.