I have always been a proponent of NFL teams playing their in-state rivals on a yearly basis. In New York, the Jets and Giants face off year after year. But in the state of Florida, the Jacksonville Jaguars does not see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Miami Dolphins on the scheduled from one season to the next.
That may not change any time soon, but it has been announced the Jaguars and the Buccaneers will hold joint practices ahead of the two teams meeting in an NFL preseason game.
“The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two joint training camp practices before their preseason game in August.
“The teams will practice Monday and Tuesday before playing Thursday night, Aug. 17. The Jaguars also will have two joint practices at New England a week earlier, before their preseason opener.”
The news of this decision is one fans here in North Florida embrace. While the Jaguars are one of the NFL’s worst teams the past decade, the Buccaneers appear to be a team on the rise, narrowly missing the playoffs last season after a 9-7 record. The NFL has been criticized of late for its new overtime policy, but it appears the league got this one right.
Per the story, Jaguars’ new coach Doug Marrone and executive vice-president Tom Coughlin want the Jaguars to be more physical. Holding joint practices in consecutive weeks will make that clear to the players.
Competing on the practice field against Jameis Winston, Doug Martin, Mike Evans and Desean Jackson should be reason enough for the Jaguars to play a bit tougher that week.
The NFL has been scheduling joint practices in preseason for many years. Jacksonville has practiced with the Atlanta Falcons in recent years prior to the two teams meeting in preseason action. The NFL also scheduled Atlanta and the Houston Texans in joint practices in years past.
In a story written on USA Today’s website in 2015, Ava Wallace points out the idea of joint practices had begun to game popularity three years ago. The Washington Redskins, who hosted the New England Patriots in 2014, welcomed the Houston Texans to their training camp site in Richmond, Va., earlier this month. Their three-day session ended in a headline-making brawl captured on HBO’s Hard Knocks.
The Jaguars and Bucs also practiced together in Jacksonville before their preseason game last year.