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2014 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp: Comparing This Year's Injuries To 2013 And 2012

With the Blue/White scrimmage in the books, we compare this year's Dallas Cowboys injury report versus those of last year and the year before.

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Over the last couple of weeks, one of the dominant themes of training camp has been the number of injuries the Cowboys have sustained, so it's worth looking back to previous years to understand whether the Cowboys have been hit particularly hard this year, or whether the injury rate is just the normal attrition level that's to be expected in an NFL training camp - and whether we're all just hyperventilating again.

One of the many benefits of faithfully chronicling all that goes on with the Dallas Cowboys is that you have a fairly accurate record of what happened in previous years. So when I started digging into the injury stats, I found that I had looked at the injury situation after the Blue/White scrimmage in each of the last two years, which allows us to compare this year's injury situation with that of both 2012 and 2013

The league doesn't require teams to release injury reports during training camp, so we can't compare the Cowboys numbers to those of other teams. But what we do know is that the Cowboys had 18 players on their injury report in 2012, and 14 players were sidelined in 2013. This year, that number is back up to 18 players. Keep in mind though, the injury reports cover a different number of practices in each year:

2012: Six practices (Incl. Blue/White scrimmage)
2013: Seven practices (Incl. Blue/White scrimmage)
2014: Eleven practices (Incl. Blue/White scrimmage and the two practices after that)

So through yesterday's practice, the Cowboys have had almost twice as many practices as in 2012, which should put the total number of injured players into perspective a little more. Also, a closer look at the injury reports from all three years shows that the difference in the number of injured players is less about the quantity of injuries and more about the severity of the injuries:

2012 2013 2014
Day-to-day CB T. Williams Concussion TE J. Hanna Hamstring CB M. Claiborne Knee
DE J. Hatcher Groin WR C. Beasley Quadriceps CB S. Moore Groin
OLB A. Spencer Hamstring WR D. Bryant Hip/Quadriceps CB T. Patmon Hip
RB L. Dunbar Hamstring WR D. Coale Knee S J. Hamilton Head, Jaw
S M. Johnson Hamstring G M. Bernadeau Hamstring S M. Johnson Hamstring
TE J. Phillips Ankle G R. Leary Calf DE B. Bass Hamstring
DE M. Spears Concussion LS L.P. Ladouceur Calf DE G. Selvie Groin
OL R. Cook Back DE B. Gardner Shoulder
DT I. Igbinosun Lower leg LB R. McClain Hamstring, Knee
LB W. Smith Groin
WR D. Briscoe Head
TE J. Najvar Ribs
Out 1-2 weeks WR D. Coale Foot RT J. Parnell Hamstring DT T. McClain Ankle
WR M. Austin Hamstring DT J. Ratliff Hamstring T D. Weems Shoulder
CB M. Claiborne Knee
G/C B. Nagy Ankle
WR S. Hakim Finger
Out Indefinitely RB P. Tanner Hand DE A. Spencer* Knee DE D. Lawrence Foot
G N. Livings Hamstring DL T. Crawford*** Achilles DE A. Spencer** Knee
G M. Bernadeau Hip, Knee LB S. Lee*** Knee
NT J. Ratliff Foot
CB M. Jenkins** Shoulder
G/C K. Kowalski** Ankle
Other OT D. Bell Conditioning DT A. Okoye Illness
* Out 2-4 weeks, ** PUP, ***Out for Season

Couple of observations:

  • Sean Lee's season-ending injury is by far the biggest injury the Cowboys have suffered this year. But in terms of training camp injuries, DeMarcus Lawrence is the only serious injury so far.
  • As you look at the overall amount serious injuries (marked here in red) 2012 has a big lead over 2013, but the 2013 numbers are a bit misleading: Jay Ratliff, Danny Coale and Ryan Cook would never play a single snap for the Cowboys due largely to their injuries, so while technically they are not marked in red, they should be. Which means that in terms of serious injuries (especially considering the number of practices in 2014), this year looks much better from a "serious injury" point of view.
  • Similarly, the amount of injuries where a player is out for one to two weeks (marked in yellow) is at a comparatively low level - and Terrell McClain is expected back by the end of the week.
  • Conversely, the amount of minor injuries with a day-to-day status (the green cells) is higher in 2014 than it was in the two previous years.
  • The secondary and the defensive line are the hardest hit of all the position groups, but most of the players are nursing day-to-day injuries that should see them back at practice shortly.
  • Football is a violent sport in which injuries happen. It feels like the Cowboys have been hit hard by injuries once again this year, but the numbers suggest that this is more about a regular attrition rate than about any serious injury problem.

What's your take on these numbers?

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