New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick believes he know why injuries are increasing in the NFL.
Belichick blames limits on offseason practices, including training camp, that comply with new NFL rules as the reason.
"I'm in favor of total preparation for the players for the season," Belichick told reporters this week. "And I think that's been changed significantly and, I would say, not necessarily for the better when you look at the injury numbers."
NFL mandates on practice restrictions were put in place after the NFL labor deal in 2011 that ended an offseason lockout. There are no longer two-a-days during training camp, the number of days in pads is limited and offseason team activity was trimmed from 14 weeks to nine weeks.
"Personally, I think that's taking the wrong approach," Belichick said. "You have a gap between preparation and competition level. And I think that's where you see a lot of injuries occurring. We get a lot of breakdowns. We get a lot of situations that players just aren't as prepared as they were in previous years, in my experience anyway."
Statistics point to injuries being on the rise leaguewide during the past 15 years.
The Patriots (11-4) have ensured numerous injuries this season to key players: tight end Rob Gronkowski, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, linebacker Jerod Mayo, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and safety Adrian Wilson.
And yet New England is 11-4 and trying to lock up the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs on Sunday when it faces the Buffalo Bills.