By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The NFL’s newest CBA removed five weeks from the usual offseason program. Now Bill Belichick would like to get some of that back.
According to a new report by ESPN’s Mike Reiss out of the NFL league meeting in Phoenix, Belichick made an “especially vocal” call for coaches and players to be able to spend more time together in the offseason than they can right now. Belichick himself didn’t comment to ESPN for the story, but Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera did.
“The game would just be better if we were able to [spend more time with players], and if we were in connection with them more, they would be healthier as well – we could monitor their well-being,” Carroll said. He added that the league doesn’t necessarily need to mandate that extra time, either. But he believes players/coaches should at least have “the option” to do so.
Both Carroll and Rivera indicated that Belichick’s comments were well-received and carried a lot of weight.
The new rules under the 2011 CBA ostensibly had some unintended consequences when it came to reduced practice time (especially with full pads), stemming from rules first implemented in 2013. Some prominent figures believed it led to a rise in serious injuries due to a relative lack of preparedness for game action. Two offseasons ago, a number of coaches told Albert Breer of The MMQB that they blamed league-wide offensive line struggles on reduced practice time before the 2016 season. And of course, that kind of concern extends to protection of quarterbacks.
So it should come as no surprise that other notable coaches went on the record to champion Belichick’s message. And if there are enough players who feel they could benefit from spending extra time with their coaches in the offseason, perhaps there’s a loosening of the rules coming down the pike.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.