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Friday, December 21, 2012
Belichick reflects on practice No. 88

By Field Yates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Just two games remain in the 2012 NFL regular season, which means the Patriots and every other team have had their fair share of practices to this point.

The usual on-field session includes staples such as stretching, individual position drills, and team drills, but not all practices are built the same way, according to head coach Bill Belichick, who was asked about his team's approach to working players back from injury at this point of the season.

As is the case in many sports, the Patriots have implemented some tapering of workloads for players who are dealing with injury issues.

"That's part of it," he said. "Of course the rules: The number of padded practices you can have has been trimmed back in the past six weeks. And (the players' workloads) probably would be trimmed back anyway, because we've had so many practices.

"We've had whatever it is, ninety some. Where are we at here?" Belichick asked before pulling out his practice schedule for the day and confirming the number. "Eighty-eight practices. We haven't had 88 practices for Jacksonville, but we've been on the field 88 times. Do you need to do everything now as much as we did in practices six, seven, and eight? Probably not. But you still need to stay sharp on it. I think there's still things you want to stay on, but the intensity of training camp or those type of practices? No, I don't think there's that type of level. There's that level of Sunday and above, but a little less than that during the week, sure."

Though the Patriots' playoff seed remains up in the air, the idea of resting starters or key players dealing with injuries if his team takes a sizable lead in either of their final two regular season contests was posed to Belichick.

"I would do the same thing that I always do in every game, and that's to try to do what's best for the football team," he replied.