For the first time since Joe Philbin has been head coach of the Miami Dolphins, the team will hold a joint practice during the pre-season. On August 19 and 20, they will travel to Wofford College in South Carolina to practice with and against the Carolina Panthers leading up to their pre-season game on August 22. This will be the first time since 2000 that the Panthers have held a joint practice with another NFL team.
"It's a unique opportunity for us to have our guys practice for two days at a different tempo, at a different level against a different style," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. "In all three phases it gives us an opportunity to look at different situations. In talking with (Dolphins head coach) Joe Philbin, we plan on doing situational football together. We'll use different ideas and combine the way they do things with the way we do things. It will benefit both teams mutually."
It will be a fresh breath of air for both teams as they will be able to go up against someone else that they haven't seen for the past few months. With that said, that can often lead to aggressive play from certain players who are eager to unleash their wrath on guys they know they won't be going to battle with every Sunday. Rivera said that he and Philbin both understand that and they will do everything they can to minimize that possibility.
That's always a concern – that the tempo is going to get out of control. But we are going to emphasize that we are looking to get positive, quality work against each other. That's what I am looking for," he said. "It's important that the competitive juices will spike a little bit and it gives our guys an opportunity to measure themselves.
One storyline to keep an eye on is that former Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin now plays for the Panthers. Of course, we all know the story behind him when he left the team because he felt bullied. The true and fine details of that saga are still buried deep but plenty of opinion has come out against Martin over the past few years. It will be interesting to see how his former teammates and coaches treat him during those two days and then in the game on August 22.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs
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