According to The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, a Bronco suffered a season-ending injury during the first day of OTAs.
It is in fact a torn Achilles for Broncos OL Nico Falah, I’m told. Done for the season. Went down during drills yesterday, the first day of OTAs, and had to be carted off.
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) May 14, 2019
The interior offensive linemen was heading into his second season with the Broncos, after Denver signed him last October off of the Jets practice squad. The USC product also spent time with the Titans in 2018.
On the surface, the injury looks like nothing more than bad luck. Things happen on the football field, players get injured all the time; it’s an unfortunate byproduct of the sport.
But further examination reveals a disturbing trend. In the past calendar year, this is the fifth Bronco to suffer a torn Achilles tendon. Here’s a quick rundown:
1. May 2018 – Linebacker Deiontrez Mount goes down during OTAs
2. October 2018 – Offensive guard Ron Leary tears his Achilles during a game against the Rams
3. December 2018 – Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders suffers the injury during a mid-week practice
4. December 2018 – Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas tears his Achilles seven weeks after being traded by the Broncos to the Texans
5. May 2019 – Nico Falah suffers the injury during OTAs
That’s a shockingly high number of Broncos suffering what is a relatively rare injury. From 2011 to ’15, 46 NFL players reported Achilles injuries; that’s less than 12 per year, across all 32 teams. So for one team to have five occur within a 12-month span is shocking; it’s more than 13.33 times the league average.
This could just be a coincidence, nothing more than a random occurrence that seems to defy the odds. Or perhaps the Broncos are doing something that is leading to a rash of Achilles injuries.
Here’s hoping strength and conditioning coach Loren Landow, who joined Denver’s staff in early 2018, is looking into everything the team is doing in order to ensure that it’s the former and not the latter. If there’s one person who can decode the riddle, it’s Landow; he’s long been considered one of the best in the business, training world-class athletes across a variety of sports.
Injuries are a part of football, but the non-contact variety can be ultra-crippling to a team; having a slew of “avoidable” ailments causes the injury report to pile up. That’s a problem the Broncos, a team looking to rebound from back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in nearly a half-century, can ill afford.