NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

Clock key to reducing NFL injury risks?

July, 31, 2012
7/31/12
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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Rules prevent NFL teams from holding the two-a-day practices that were once a staple of training camps across the league.

Teams now generally hold a walk-through session in the morning, followed by full practices in the afternoon.

That suits St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher for a couple reasons.

"You're not going to play games in the morning," Fisher said after practice Monday. "Our preference is to get up, get going, make sure you've got at least a couple of meals in you. We're trying to take care of the nutrition-type things and hydration-type things, and make sure you're warmed up. In addition to that, in our studies, the injury rates, the pull histories were greater in the morning practices than they were in the afternoon practices."

That last part caught my attention. I've long sought more detailed information that might uncover patterns to injury rates. Are heavier or lighter players at a position more prone to getting hurt? Does kickoff time matter on that front?

The Seattle Seahawks have been practicing in the morning and holding walk-through sessions in the afternoons. The other NFC West teams have been holding their practices later in the day.

West Coast teams have complained about difficulties associated with Eastern time zone kickoffs scheduled for 10 a.m. PT. Might injury data suggest players from those teams have been at greater risk in those games?

Side note: The Washington Redskins have moved their practices to the afternoons in part because they think teaching sessions are best held in the mornings.

"Long-snapper Nick Sundberg said he was told by team officials that studies show the learning process, information retention specifically, is better in the morning," Tarik El-Bashir wrote for CSNWashington.com.

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