As the Chicago Bears aim to curb injuries, coach John Fox has eliminated joint training camp practices from this summer's schedule.
Over the past two years, the Bears traveled to Indianapolis and New England to practice against the Colts and Patriots prior to the second preseason game. That practice will be discontinued, at least for 2017.
"We're not going to work against anybody this year, just because from a scheduling standpoint you're not in camp near as long as you used to be," Fox told reporters at the owners meetings.
"[In regards to] camp, we’re breaking before the second game now. It used to be before the third game, so you're not at camp as long. And if you travel to work against somebody, you're uprooting, you're getting out of routine, you're getting out of your recovery system, you are traveling and that's proven to be a little hazardous to your health, albeit part of football. If you don't have to do it, avoid it, even to that point."
The Bears are desperate for better health. Both general manager Ryan Pace and Fox said at the conclusion of last season that they intended to conduct a thorough review of their methods and practices when it comes to keeping players healthy. The Bears have suffered an alarming number of injuries since Fox took over in 2015.
"A couple of things we've done dealing with some of our sports science people is kind of two days on and then a soft day [at camp], so actually have time to recover," Fox said.
"Obviously the injuries are something that we've looked very hard. To be quite honest with you, we had some injury issues even that first year. They were a little more soft tissue, a little more practice-oriented. We did a lot to improve the fields. We did a lot to improve how we practice. We actually did a lot more adjustments. This year it actually got worse. So we kind of go back to the drawing board. Our league does the research, we do it.
"We've done quite a few things that we’ve looked at; it's been a collaboration, whether it's strength coaches, assistant coaches, practice techniques, which we actually dropped our injuries in practice this year. But we got more catastrophic injuries in games this year -- broke leg, broke arm, broken bones. But you still evaluate it and do everything in your power to try to correct it."