The Miami Dolphins are on their way to South Carolina to hold joint practices with the Carolina Panthers. This is refreshing to see as this is the first team under Joe Philbin's leadership that the Dolphins have practiced with another team. Joint practices not only help see how your own guys are developing against other teams who don't know what's coming, it's also in a sense almost another pre-season game due to the fact that there will be live action over the next several days.
Philbin said this idea dated back to when teams were getting ready for training camp and the pre-season.
“I think (Carolina Panthers Head Coach) Ron (Rivera) called me initially as we were getting the preseason together, Ron called me initially and I was looking to do something different in training camp. Last year, I almost did it with Atlanta, but it was the first week and that didn’t fit the way I wanted to install our offense, defense and special teams. If I were going to do it, it was going to be during the second week. I’m on the subcommittee with Ron, so I know him a little bit. I think he’s a really good coach, a good person and our discussions, it took a while, we worked through some things, we spoke on the phone, we met in Indianapolis, we met again at the league meeting and talked some things over. Our people did a great job of advancing the place, they down there and looked at it, it’s supposed to be a great set up and so yeah I’m really looking forward to working with them.”
Philbin said one of the main reasons he chose to travel for a joint practice is because he wants the guys to get used to winning on the road. He noted that it's going to be a key to their season, especially because seven of their first nine games are on the road away from Sun Life Schedule.
One big test that everyone, including the fans, will be watching is whether or not the Dolphins' offensive line can hold up and do well against the Panthers' defensive line. The Dolphins' offensive line has been pushed around a bit in practice but when you're going up against Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, it's hard to get a true gauge as to the progress of the offensive line. That's why Philbin is anxious to see how his guys respond against guys who are good, but not necessarily Pro Bowl players.
"Yeah, it’s a good front. It’s a good defensive football team. Number one, I think that. It’s a different scheme than Chicago runs. That’s a definite advantage to us. I think it will give our guards, in particular, good work against quality people. They’ve got some really good linebackers, just seeing our guards and centers going after (Luke) Kuechly, that’s going to be great work for our guys offensively. I just think
it’s going to be good, it’s a good set up there logistically. The practice field is .7 miles from where we’re staying, the meeting rooms are
excellent, we’re going to kind of have like training camp days there. Yeah, I’m excited about it, think it will be good.”
When the Dolphins take to the practice field against the Panthers, Philbin said there won't be any live tackling but the tempo will be one that fosters competition throughout all of the sessions. With that in mind, tempers may flare, which could lead to some fighting. However, Philbin said that he and Rivera will discuss that in further detail and will try to stay on top of things as much as possible so things don't get out of hand.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @FinsInsider
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