Bill Belichick is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to discussing injuries on his own team. However, he does have an opinion about the number of injuries occurring league-wide in recent seasons.
Belichick blames the new rules restricting practices and contact adopted under the new CBA as contributing to players not being fully prepared for the rigors of games and the season as a whole.
“I’m in favor of total preparation for the players for the season,” Belichick said during a conference call with Buffalo reporters, via John Wawrow of the Associated Press. “And I think that’s been changed significantly and, I would say, not necessarily for the better when you look at the injury numbers.”
Belichick said he was citing specific numbers indicating injuries have increased in recent seasons. An NFL spokesman disputed Belichick’s assertions saying the league monitors injury rates and there “is no evidence” that the rule changes have affected the number of injuries.
Among the changes to practice rules are no more two-a-day practices in training camp, limits on full-pads practices and a reduction in the number of offseason practices.
The Patriots have lost six starters to injured reserve this season. Belichick says the numbers back up his claim that injuries have increased and he doesn’t think it’s a coincidence as to why.
“When you see the number 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.”