As the second game of the preseason approaches, now is the time of the year that teams begin to merge for joint practices across the league.
For the third consecutive season, the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers will get together for at least one joint practice session, this time in Santa Clara ahead of their Preseason Week 2 matchup.
Although joint practices seem to be increasing in popularity in recent years, one Broncos’ cornerback isn’t a big fan.
“I really don’t like the joint practices because they’re more like a game,” Chris Harris Jr. said after Saturday’s training camp practice. “A game atmosphere. The teams start fighting and things like that. I get enough looks going against [WR Demaryius Thomas] D.T. and [WR Emmanuel Sanders] E in practice.”
A game atmosphere could be beneficial to many of the Broncos looking to gain as much experience as possible, so it’s understandable why some veteran players don’t want much to with it. Since the beginning of training camp, the Broncos have already seen injuries make their way through the likes of Devontae Booker, Shane Ray, Billy Wynn and most recently Derek Wolfe, who was carted off the field on Saturday with an ankle injury that will keep him out until the regular season opener.
The atmosphere may have a game-like feel to it, but it also brings along fights as well. Just last week a video emerged of a brawl at a joint practice between the Rams and the Chargers, Los Angeles’ two teams.
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“It’s just more like a game,” Harris Jr. said. “When you play against somebody else, it’s more like a game. Then you practice against them and it’s more like a game. Then you go to the game and it’s the same. It’s like you played three games in a week.”
Three games in one week is a lot for veterans who are really just trying to knock off the rust and sharpen their skills before the regular season arrives.
While one half of Denver’s all-pro cornerback duo isn’t fond of joint practices, the other half doesn’t really mind them.
“It’s almost like a preseason game because you’re going to play to the max,” Aqib Talib said on Saturday. “Whenever we compete, period, we go to the max. But when it’s another color jersey, you go all out. It’s almost like you play three preseason games that week. It’ll be great work for us.”
Whether they like it or not, the practices are set.