The San Francisco 49ers dealt with numerous injuries in 2017. This is not a shocking revelation, and likewise, statistics that back this up will not exactly wow anybody here. Football Outsiders posted their 2017 adjusted games lost (AGL) information, which looks at injury reports and assesses the true impact of injuries. It looks at players who did not play, but also players who played in spite of being on the injury report, and thus at likely less than 100 percent.
The 49ers ranked No. 23, which came a year after they ranked No. 24. The two best examples of the injury bug would be at right tackle and the safety positions. Trent Brown played the first seven games at right tackle but for games 8 through 13, they rotated in Garry Gilliam, Erik Magnuson, Trent Brown, Erik Magnuson, Trent Brown, and Zane Beadles. Injuries resulted in a rotation, until Beadles finished out the final four games of the season.
At safety, the team started with Eric Reid and Jaquiski Tartt. Jimmie Ward eventually returned to the lineup after Reid got hurt, only for Ward to get hurt again. Ward eventually returned as Tartt got hurt, and Adrian Colbert made his way into the lineup. Antone Exum made a brief appearance, but Reid and Colbert finished out the season.
The 49ers have struggled in a big way with injuries. In 2015, they ranked No. 26 in AGL, and in 2014 they ranked No. 28. The 49ers ranked No. 23 in 2013, which came a year after they ranked No. 1. Michael Crabtree’s torn Achilles was sort of the start of a continuous run of bad injury situations.
Football is a violent game and injuries happen, but the 49ers run of injury problems is problematic. Bad luck factors into some injuries, but to rank in the bottom ten in adjusted games lost for five straight seasons? It has me wondering what exactly is going on here.