Aaron Wellman was a popular guy Friday as New York Giants assistant coaches met with media. That, of course, is because anyone with explanations for why the Giants have suffered so many injuries in recent years or ideas on how that could be rectified is someone who needs to be heard from.
As the team's new strength and conditioning coach, Wellman is a central figure as the Giants try to overcome their reputation as an "injury dynasty" after leading the league in Adjusted Games Lost, a statistic created by the analytics website Football Outsiders, the last three seasons.
Wellman, a 41-year-old in his first S&C job in the NFL after working at the Division I collegiate level the past 20 years, really had no appetite for looking back at what happened with the Giants in recent seasons.
Wellman was asked if he understood why there was so much interest from reporters in speaking with him Friday, or if the Giants' long-running injury situation was an exciting challenge for him.
"I don’t think what’s happened in the past excites me any more than anything else," Wellman said. "I’m challenged again by putting every player in the best position to success. Look, it’s pretty straightforward for me. I want these guys all to succeed."
Wellman did allow that "more than luck" is involved in injuries, and in trying to prevent them. "I’d like to think it’s more than luck. Certainly I can’t give you much insight on previous injuries, on how many we’ve had or what they were. I can tell you, and I’ve said it before, it’s multifactoral," Wellman said. "Lot of factors. In order to improve on performance, mitigating risk, anything, it’s communication and collaboration between strength staff, training staff, medical staff, coaching staff, and the players themselves."
Wellman said that the staff has studied injuries from previous seasons, but that if there was anything specific to learn from those "that's a question for Coach McAdoo."
McAdoo has called Wellman, and the organization has already made significant changes in the weight room. Those changes, incidentally, are ongoing as workers could be seen in there on Friday putting finishing touches on an obviously revamped facility.
"Equipment-wise there’s some changes. Our goal is always the same, we want to maximize the strength of our athletes, speed, power, movement efficiency, and minimize orthopedic stress on the body," Wellman said.
"We want to use methods that yield high results at low cost. At the end of the day, it's what you do in that room, not what's in it so much as how you use it."