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Buffalo Bills among the most injured teams in 2016

Football Outsiders with the data.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills were among the most injured teams in 2016, with multiple starters sitting out and several key reserves missing time. It was particularly noticeable at the wide receiver and safety positions, but it was spots all over the field.

According to Football Outsiders, the Bills lost the eighth-most games to injury in 2016. They lost at least six games from eight players, which was the second-most in the league. The metric factors in a difference of starters on the bench as opposed to reserves as well as players who suit up at less than 100%, so there is some subjectivity:

“Injuries to starters, injury replacements and important situational reserves (No. 3 wide receiver, nickel corner, etc.) matter more than injuries to benchwarmers; and (2) Injured players who do take the field are usually playing with reduced ability, which is why AGL is based not strictly on whether the player was active for the game or not, but instead is based on the player's game status that week (IR/PUP, out, doubtful, questionable, or probable),” writes Scott Kacsmar.

The biggest note about the Bills in the article comes off as a defense of now-fired coach Rex Ryan.

“Buffalo ranked 25th in AGL in both of Rex Ryan's seasons on the job... It certainly doesn't help to lose key players, such as Buffalo getting so little from its top two draft picks (defenders Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland), and top wideout Sammy Watkins only playing in eight games.”

Ragland missed the season after having knee surgery in August. Watkins and Lawson both missed half the season with foot and shoulder injuries, respectively. In addition to Watkins, starting receiver Robert Woods missed six games and was hampered in several others. Other starters were also hampered. Left tackle Cordy Glenn (missed five games), Eric Wood (missed seven games), Marcell Dareus (missed four games to suspension and four to injury), Aaron Williams (missed nine games) all lost significant time. And that’s just a snapshot of the starters.

Ultimately, the Patriots and Falcons were in the top eight in 2016 but both overcame significant injuries to make the Super Bowl. It’s why finding depth is so important.