JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 09: Andy Dalton #14 hands off to Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Jacksonville Jaguars during play at EverBank Field on October 9, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The 2011 Bengals weren't hit particularly hard by the injury bug. There were a few notable injuries, but in comparison to the rest of the league, the Bengals had it easy.
According to Football Outsiders' metrics, the Bengals were the 13th healthiest team in the league in 2011. Football Outsiders calculates what they call Adjusted Games Lost for every team, based on how many players showed up on a team's weekly injury reports. Losing a starter is weighted more than losing a backup. Essentially, the more players injured, the more "games lost" (I would almost call it "starts lost") a team had.
The Bengals had a total of 51.8 "games lost" in 2011, which was a marked improvement from 2010, when they had 62.4 "games lost" (ranked 25th). Around the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens were the healthiest team in the league in 2011, while the Steelers were ranked 17th, and the Browns 22nd.
Football Outsiders also sorted each team's "games lost" by positions in an article yesterday, and the Bengals were hit the hardest by the wide receiver and tight end group. 35% of the Bengals' total "games lost" came from this position group, mostly from the loss of Jordan Shipley in week 2. Shipley was not a starter, but he was certainly a crucial part of the offense. He had played 50% of team's offensive snaps in week 1, and 60% of the team's offensive snaps in 2010.
A.J. Green (starter) also missed a game, and tight end Jermaine Gresham (starter) missed two games. Wide receiver Andre Caldwell (rotational - 55%) was placed on injured reserve in week 13. Finally, tight end Bo Scaife (backup) was lost before the season even began.
The Bengals' quarterbacks, runningbacks, and offensive line stayed relatively healthy. Offensive lineman Bobbie Williams (starter) missed a total of 7 games due to both injury and suspension. Williams' right hand man Andre Smith (starter) was out for two games with an ankle injury. Third down runningback Brian Leonard missed three games and fullback Chris Pressley (starter) missed one game, both to knee injuries.
On the defensive side, linebackers Keith Rivers (starter) and Roddrick Muckelroy (backup) were both lost before the season began. Cornerback Leon Hall (starter) went down to an achilles injury in week 10, and defensive tackle Pat Sims (rotational - 40%) didn't see the field after suffering an ankle injury in week 12. Linebacker Rey Maualuga (starter) and defensive end Carlos Dunlap (rotational - 55%) both missed a few games, while Adam Jones was recovering from a neck injury until week 11, when he replaced Leon Hall in the starting lineup.
Hopefully the Bengals will continue to be a healthy team again in 2012. We all remember how miserable 2010 was.