Coming off of an exciting 2017 season for each of them, the Jaguars and the Vikings were already playing in the preseason this August, and now they will try to benefit from that, even more.
On Thursday, the teams that each won their division and made their conference title game a year ago, jointly announced that they will be practicing together in Minneapolis in advance of their August 18th preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Jags announced the move on social media around lunch time:
For more on the joint practice:https://t.co/JU8jLhBw4I
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) May 17, 2018
There are some intriguing elements and benefits. And Jacksonville coach, Doug Marrone laid those out in the team release:
“We look forward to traveling to Minnesota to work with Coach Zimmer and his team at their new state-of-the-art facility, the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center,” said Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone. “Having the opportunity to practice with another conference finalist during training camp will allow us to compete with great players and coaches and continue to push ourselves. We believe that these joint sessions will provide us with an opportunity to improve as a football team, which is always the goal for training camp.”
He’s absolutely right that by the third week of training camp, the mundane repetition of practicing against yourselves day after day in the summer heat needs to be broken up. And many teams for years have begun to do with with another club.
In fact, last season, the Jaguars hosted the Bucs in joint practices prior to their August exhibition match-up at their facilities adjacent to what’s now, TIAA Bank Field.
However, things don’t always go as intended for either or both teams.
Example, during those practices last August, as was documented on the HBO training camp all access “Hard Knocks” that featured the Bucs, coach Dirk Koetter was displeased with the effort and the execution of his team against the Jags in the workouts.
Even worse though, Jacksonville played terribly as a team, in the first half of the actual game, and QB Blake Bortles looked so bad, that Marrone and the coaching staff decided to bench him for the following week in favor of veteran backup Chad Henne.
Henne was largely ineffective in that role to end the preseason, and the Jags went back to Bortles. And, he went on to a solid start to the regular season and was good, not great, for the most part in 2017.
As for the Vikings, they are anxious to get all of the work in that they can for new high priced free agent QB Kirk Cousins, as this would be his second exhibition game. And there work with the Jaguars should benefit them, leading to the game.
Still both teams won’t show much, to each other in practice, and usually the second preseason game sees starters gone by half time.
So, how much will really be gained by this?
Coaches will tell you it helps evaluate. Players will tell you they like limited blocking and tackling someone else.
Fans will get to see the practices for free.
Other than those points? Not a lot else will be.
It is after all, practice.
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