The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Best How?

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So ... the Eagles have the best roster? When? Now, when right guard Stacy Andrews is still recovering from ACL surgery, and Victor Abiamiri is coming back from pectoral surgery, Brian Westbrook's health is still in question, and first-round pick Jeremy Maclin remains unsigned? The thing about rosters is that they're not fixed entities - they're fluid things, subject to injury and attrition and the vagaries of personal (and personnel) decisions. A few weeks ago, the Ravens thought they were reasonably set at wide receiver. Then they had two receivers retire on them in July.

When I look at roster construction, I want to see how teams handle injury - can they still win? Are their reserves good enough to take care of business if need be? The Eagles' results from 2008 are inconclusive. According to Football Outsiders' numbers, Philly had a total of 39 Adjusted Games Lost among their starters, and 53.1 AGL among their reserves. They had the 12th-fewest games lost for starters, and only the Dolphins and Titans had fewer games lost with their reserves.

What about the Ravens, who lost a total of 280 Adjusted Games among their starters and reserves? They still managed to win 11 games and take the Steelers to the limit in the AFC Championship game. Or the Patriots, who also won 11 and just missed the playoffs despite 268 total AGL? The Colts, Giants, Vikings and Steelers would have similar arguments when it comes to a greater ability to make things happen in the face of injury. Not surprisingly, these teams are often cited as being among the best in the league when it comes to overall roster construction.

Joe Banner is among the most adept execs in the business, but I'm not sure what he meant with that "best roster" comment. Best to let the season play out before making such statements - you never know what's going to happen.

By Doug Farrar  |  July 27, 2009; 9:16 AM ET  | Category:  Doug Farrar , Philadelphia Eagles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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