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49ers defense weighs down the team’s adjusted games lost

The 49ers will look for a repeat along the offensive line and at quarterback in 2018.

Injuries have been a running theme for the San Francisco 49ers dating back to the end of the Jim Harbaugh era. Back in March, Football Outsiders released their 2017 adjusted games lost stats, and the 49ers ranked No. 23, a year after they were No. 24. AGL uses the injury reports to assess the true impact of injuries, not just who is inactive or on IR.

FO later took the AGL data and broke it down by offense and defense. It offers a stark contrast for the 49ers. The team’s offense ranked No. 8 in AGL, while the defense ranked dead last. FO broke down AGL by position group, and there are no surprises in there. The 49ers defensive line ranked No. 27, their linebackers ranked No. 31, and their defensive backs ranked No. 30.

Along the line, Arik Armstead going on season-ending IR, Ronald Blair opening the season on IR, and Solomon Thomas dealing with a host of injuries made up that ranking. At linebacker, the team lost Malcolm Smith for the year, and saw Reuben Foster deal with injuries all season long. In the secondary, the safety positions alone were problematic, with Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt ending up on IR, and Eric Reid dealing with injuries during the season.

On offense, the big plus saw the team’s offensive line rank No. 8. The interior line struggled, but with the upgrades this offseason, staying healthy again would be huge for this group. It’s worth noting they were tied for first in quarterback AGL. I think we’d like to see that one continue.