Actually, please don’t.
Adam Gase might not say those words explicitly, but it will at least be his unspoken wish for his players Monday, when the Dolphins and Eagles kick off their first of two joint practices up in Philadelphia.
These inter-squad NFL workouts are all the rage these days, with coaches seeing them as valuable — if not more so — as preseason games.
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But it’ll be hot. It’ll be physical. And it’ll be competitive.
Brawls aren’t just possible. They’re nearly inevitable.
The Broncos and 49ers practiced together last week, and no fewer than three fights broke out on Thursday alone, according to the Denver Post.
Up in Jacksonville, Jaguars wide receiver Arrelious Benn threw a punch at Buccaneers linebacker Adarius Glanton, one of several skirmishes between those teams in recent days.
“There’s a game feel to it, and it is very competitive,” Gase said recently. “Really, the hardest thing is to just keep everybody focused on what they need to do in practice to get better because they do know there’s no flags, you’re not going to get ejected from the game or fined, and that’s where it can get kind of messy and guys get in fights. If you can keep your guys focused on what you’re trying to do, it’s great competition.”
It will be controlled chaos, however. The teams will thud but won’t tackle live. Miami’s been ravaged by injuries this training camp, so Gase won’t put his players at any reckless risk.
This will be the second time in three years the Dolphins are spending a training camp week on the road. They practiced with the Panthers two years ago before the two teams met in a preseason game.
Gase has known Eagles coach Doug Pederson “for a while;” they were in the same division for two years — Gase with the Broncos, Pederson with the Chiefs.
Gase is leaving the practice specifics up to Pederson.
“When I had my discussions with Doug I was like, ‘You tell us what you want to do and that’s what we’re going to do,’ because we’re going to them,” Gase said. “I always kind of looked at it as we’re there, we’re going to do what they do, and it’s easy for us to adjust. If somebody was coming here, it would probably be more than likely we’d be using our practice schedule.”
Gase added: “It’s fun for guys to go against somebody different instead of hitting their teammates. They’re going against a different team and a different style of ball. Like for us, we’re going to be doing Philly’s practice schedule and just for our guys to kind of have a different sense of what we do compared to what they do. It’s nothing but good experience when you get to do these joint practices.”
▪ The Dolphins on Saturday placed rookie wide receiver Isaiah Ford (knee) on injured reserve.