Patriots HC Bill Belichick is blaming recently implemented NFL rules shortening players' offseason practice time for what he says is an increasing number of injuries. It's ironic that Belichick would attribute injury increase to lack of practice time, because the NFL has been doing everything it can to limit injuries by enforcing these cutbacks and abruptly redefining crtical aspects of the game like tackling technique and moving kickoffs up 5 yards.
According to the Associated Press, speaking on a conference call with Buffalo, NY-area reporters this week, Kill Bill said "players are more vulnerable to being hurt because they're less prepared. And he called the new rules limiting offseason and training camp as being "the wrong approach."
Belichick's known to be a step ahead of his coaching peers, so maybe he knows something that we don't. There's no proof that injuries are actually on the rise since the new rules were put in place in 2011, but New England has lost six starters to injured reserve this season. Belichick says the stats back up his claim and he doesn't see it as a coincidence. "When you see the numbers as high as they are, then I don't think that's a randomness that's been two years in a row,"Belichick said. "I've got to think there's some correlation there."
NFL Spokesman Michael Signora basically said Belichick needs to kill the madness and insists the NFL has no evidence to support the hooded-one's science. If anything, NFL rule changes, especially the kickoff rule has reduced concussions. According to a March 26th, 2012 espn.com article, "for all (kickoffs), concussions were down 12.5 percent, from 218 in 321 games in 2010 to 190 in 320 games last season."
Belichick may have a point if you subscribe to the theory that the more you practice, the more you strengthen those muscles and bones needed to endure the rigors of football. However, it will be almost impossible to prove with the NFL declining to release its injury data.
"I'm in favor of total preparation for the players for the season," Belichick added. "And I think that's been changed significantly and, I would say, not necessarily for the better…"