Miami Dolphins must explore reasons 13 players are on injured reserve

Ryan Tannehill is out this season, but there are good signs for 2018. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — The Dolphins officially placed defensive tackle Vincent Taylor on injured reserve Thursday, and if that sounds familiar, there’s a good reason.

Taylor, who has a knee injury, brings to 13 the number of Dolphins on IR.

That’s more than the past two seasons combined.

It also goes a long way toward explaining why the Dolphins are staggering through a losing season after making the playoffs last year, when they finished with just four on IR. (The Dolphins ended 2015 with eight on IR.)

The uptick undoubtedly will be a topic of internal discussion after the season, especially for an organization that invests so heavily in sports science. Is there anything more that department could have done to prevent injuries? Any steps the trainers or medical staff should consider moving forward?

It’s possible the answers are no, but these are questions the organization must continue to ask itself each offseason. Injuries will always be part of this game, but those three areas of expertise are designed to allow the Dolphins to maximize the talent they have. For whatever reasons — and certainly they include lousy luck — the Dolphins did not get the most of their roster in 2017.

Glancing down the list of the unlucky 13, you’ll find five players who were considered likely starters at the beginning of training camp. That’s 23 percent of the starting lineup that was  standing on the sidelines in T-shirts. It also represents $44.4 million against the salary cap, according to overthecap.com. 

The list includes second-round pick Raekwon McMillan, a linebacker who blew out a knee on the first play of the preseason. Chalk that one up in the lousy luck category, the type of play that could happen to anybody.

The other whopper of an injury was to quarterback Ryan Tannehill, which is where second-guessing could come in. Tannehill injured his knee last year but chose to rehab rather than undergo surgery. Once in training camp, the decision backfired with another season-ending knee injury. The team never recovered.

Also gone: G Jermon Bushrod, OT Ja’Wuan James and TE Julius Thomas, all of whom may have played their last snaps in Dolphins jerseys.

If the 13 figure sounds like a lot, consider that it’s barely above the league average. As of Thursday afternoon, there were 389 NFL players on IR, an average of 12.2 per team. So the Dolphins are in the ballpark.

It’s also interesting to note the direct correlation between staying healthy and staying in contention. The dozen teams currently in playoff position have an average of just 9.5 players on IR, led by Atlanta, with a league-low three.

Those raw numbers tell half the story. The Eagles are in reasonable shape with just 10, you might say, but when one of them is QB Carson Wentz, that’s a different story. Seattle (13) lost two key members of its secondary in Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.

Then there’s the hard-luck Giants and Texans, who have lost 20 and 19 players, respectively, including WR Odell Beckham Jr., QB DeShaun Watson and DE J.J. Watt — three of the last guys they could afford to lose.

The Giants, 49ers and Redskins share the league lead with 20 players apiece on IR. The most fortunate are Atlanta and Dallas (four), followed by three teams in playoff position: the Vikings, Steelers and Titans (six each).

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