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NFL notes: Belichick questions NFL offseason workout limits

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is blaming recently instituted NFL rules shortening offseason practice time for what he claims to be an increasing number of player injuries.

“I’m in favor of total preparation for the players for the season,” Belichick said during a conference call this week in leading up to New England’s home game against Buffalo on Sunday. “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 players are more vulnerable to being hurt because they’re less prepared, and described the limits placed on offseason workouts – including training camp – as being counterproductive.

“Personally, I think that’s taking the wrong approach,” he 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.”

Though he didn’t cite specific numbers, Belichick said he was citing “a matter of record not opinion,” in saying injuries league-wide have been on the rise over the past three years.

Jones: Romo could be cleared for Philadelphia

Dallas owner Jerry Jones says the Cowboys aren’t ruling Tony Romo out of a winner-take-all game against Philadelphia because doctors could clear him after treating his back injury.

The Cowboys and Eagles are playing Sunday night in Dallas’ third straight season finale against an NFC East rival with the division title and a playoff berth on the line.

Romo was the starter in losses to the New York Giants two years ago and Redskins last season. He injured his back in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 24-23 win at Washington.

Kyle Orton, who hasn’t started a game since 2011, is the backup.

Around the league

Green Bay LB Clay Matthews will miss Sunday’s game against Chicago for the NFC North title after aggravating a right thumb injury. … Denver WR Wes Welker returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering his second concussion on Dec. 12. He was allowed to participate on a limited basis according to the league’s concussion protocol. … Houston DT J.J. Watt’s penchant for violent collisions left a deep gash on the bridge of his nose that required six stitches in Week 4. Each time he’s played since, the wound has been reopened, resulting in a permanent – and ugly – mark on the Texans star’s face. Now that the season is winding down, the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year says he’ll look into having plastic surgery to repair the injury. … Detroit Lions has placed TE Brandon Pettigrew on injured reserve because of an ankle injury. … The Giants have placed S Cooper Taylor on injured reserve, two weeks after he injured his hamstring.

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