NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Joint practices have become the norm for training camps across the NFL. While it gives teams a chance to break up the monotony of repeatedly going against teammates, joint practices also can open the door for fights -- such as the one that occurred on Sunday between the New York Jets and Washington Redskins.
The Tennessee Titans are gearing up to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two consecutive practices before they face each other at 8 p.m. ET Saturday in Week 2 of the preseason. Both teams are taking measures to ensure no fights occur.
"Dirk [Koetter, Buccaneers head coach] and I have had numerous conversations. We are not going to tolerate it," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said regarding fights in practice. "I am going to address his team; he's going to address our team. We will bring everybody together and make sure we stay on top of it. Hopefully, we can act like professionals and not have to spend a bunch of time breaking up fights and sending guys out of here."
Koetter echoed Vrabel when asked about having rules for joint practices.
"Yeah, we have a whole list of them. Coach Vrabel and I have talked about them, just like [Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug] Marrone and I did last year. You know when you've got 180 guys on two fields, their tempers are going to flare. These guys are competing against each other. They're competing for jobs."
The weather forecast is calling for a temperature of 93 degrees on Wednesday and 90 on Thursday. That's the kind of muggy heat that can shorten tempers on the practice field. Throwing in the fact both teams have to adjust to a new tempo that comes from working with a different team could increase the chances for skirmishes.
Veteran outside linebacker Derrick Morgan was involved in a brief scuffle with teammate Taylor Lewan during practice last week. Morgan's method for avoiding fights with the Buccaneers is pretty simple.
"You have to know how to practice like a professional and get the work done. Stay clean. It's always a possibility when you have a joint practice in the heat. Everybody is tired, tempers can be short," Morgan said.
There's only so much that can be attained by practicing against teammates. However, facing a different squad gives coaches and players an opportunity to see how they can react to a different scheme or technique they wouldn't see by facing teammates. That's what makes joint practices so attractive to coaches.
The Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings are having joint practices this week, as well. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had some concerns when the Jaguars reached out to Minnesota about having joint practices, but he eventually came around because he feels it gives his team a chance to improve.
"It's important that our guys know we're not going to put up with any trash talking, we're not going to put up with any fighting. We're not here for that. We're here to get better," Zimmer said. "We don't want to get in any kind of conflicts like they had apparently in Washington."