The Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens are set to follow the trend of joint practices as they prepare for their preseason game next Monday night. The continuous issues that tend to come up are the scrapping that comes with virtually any matchup period of practice whether it be 11-on-11s or even simple 1-on-1 drills.
Just recently we’ve seen the issues with the New York Jets and Washington Redskins between D.J. Swearinger and Terrelle Pryor, who were former teammates and apparently aren’t best of friends. Also, just today the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers saw a simple head-to-head drill spill into a fight between DeAndre Hopkins and Jimmie Ward.
These certainly aren’t the only two instances from this summer, but it happens literally every single year during training camp joint practices. However, this isn’t something that NFL coaches and teams are looking to shy away from any time soon.
These same type of fights occur between teammates every year as well, so there simply isn’t any urgency to single out the joint practices as the culprits. They are quite valuable for each team regardless of any shenanigans that result from their time together.
Colts head coach Frank Reich isn’t the slightest bit worried about it either, and he sees more of the good that comes from them than anything.
“I love the joint practices. The number one thing is just the competitiveness of it. It’s the next thing closest to another preseason game, and you get a chance to really notch up the level of execution against a different style and a different scheme.”
Maybe you can find some negatives that can come from them such as injuries and major brawls breaking out, but as I said earlier, those can develop on practices with their own teammates.
You have to love this heading into the game, though, right?
If they do end up having some sort of scuffle, they usually bring quite an interesting energy to the game itself. With the Friday and Saturday practices, and the game on Monday it’s almost likely that something will come from them.
180 players in the same area spending time with, competing against and clowning each other when their squad wins a rep is naturally going to breed some animosity. There’s almost no way around it.
Again, though, Reich sees the benefits from it. It’s not just that he gets to see how his team matches up against another, but he gets to scout his own team and visualize how they react to a high-intensity situation where the comfort level can disappear fairly quickly.
“It’s good exposure for the whole team. Then individually, we like to look at the matchups. We like to look at players and evaluate players. It’s really valuable for that as well.”
I would say that the Colts, with their young and inexperienced roster, could actually use this far more than most teams at this point. Half of the players on the field won’t like them, won’t respect them and won’t be looking to pat them on the butt when they get torched.
And something that I think goes a bit under the radar with these joint practices, is how the coaching staff conducts their unit. A first-year head coach and an new staff having to face some adversity at this level in a practice is an ideal situations as well.
How will they compete alongside their players? I love these and I have a feeling that Reich and his staff will be as amped as the players will be.