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January 19, 2024

How much did injuries affect Eagles collapse, drop off in 2023?

The Eagles were a lot more injured this season compared to their Super Bowl run last year.

Eagles Sports Injuries

Content sponsored by Trinity_SportsInjuries-2023

Sydney-Brown-Eagles-injury_011924_USAT Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports

Eagles safety Sydney Brown is carted off the field after an injury during the first half against the Giants.

There were a lot of different opinions and mentalities in the Eagles locker room earlier this week as players officially put an end to the 2023 NFL season. But one did sort of echo from player to player.

"We kind of really don't know what went wrong," veteran defensive end Fletcher Cox said.

Was it the head coach's fault? Did general manager Howie Roseman fail to put a winning team together?

What about injuries? 

Another common thread as players prepared to take time off and go on vacation was that everyone was feeling the aches from a very long year.

"My body is beat, I can tell you all that for sure," Jordan Davis told reporters Wednesday.

On paper, the 2022 Eagles — a team that was a few plays away from winning the Super Bowl — closely resembled this past year's squad, and the vibes felt similar when the team started off 10-1. But then, of course, they finished the year 1-6 in an epic collapse. 

Among other things, it's abundantly clear that there was substantially more injury luck last year.

MORE: Head coach Nick Sirianni – stay or go?

It's almost impossible to perfectly quantify how hurt Eagles players were this past season. Take Jalen Hurts for example. For all his bumps and bruises, including his knee pain and finger injury, the quarterback only appeared on an injury report once — and it was for an illness. The eye test (and the man himself) implies Hurts was certainly hurt all season.

In all, the Eagles had 37 different players designated as being questionable (a 50% chance of playing) or worse. They had 31 different players miss at least one game, and 13 different players placed on injured reserve at some point. 

Here's how that compared to their Super Bowl year:

Total IR games90100
Non IR games missed2143
Key players out at least once917

It's a lot easier to win when a team stays healthy. That part is obvious. The NFC Champion squad barely felt an impact from rookies, as the veterans were able to stay on the field. Rookies played much bigger roles a season later.

The trickle-down effect eventually shows up in the standings, and the Eagles clearly did not have the depth to withstand injuries in the secondary and in other areas of the field.

More important is how many starters and key players missed at least one game. For the 2023 Birds, it's a lengthy list:

PlayerGames missed
Zech McPhearson17
Nakobe Dean14
Avonte Maddox13
Quez Watkins7
Cam Jurgens6
Darius Slay4
Zach Cunningham3
Bradley Roby3
Reed Blankenship2
Dallas Goedert2
James Bradberry1
A.J. Brown1
Sydney Brown1
Jalen Carter1
Fletcher Cox1
Landon Dickerson1
DeVonta Smith1

That's 17 players who started or otherwise would have played a key role that missed at least one game in 2023 (including the Eagles' lone playoff game).

In all, those 17 players missed 78 games. During their Super Bowl run, nine key players missed a total of 31 games (including Hurts, Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata and Josh Sweat). 

It's not at the top of the list — and it's probably not even in the top five — of reasons why the Eagles fell apart this season. But it's definitely a factor worth mentioning and contemplating.

The extreme health and good luck from the 2022 squad were bound to run out. And it did.

MORE: Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox defend Eagles coach Nick Sirianni

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