SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Fighting sometimes is a side effect of joint training practices in the NFL, but it won’t be tolerated on Tuesday and Wednesday when the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills get together at Wofford College.
“If anybody fights then we’ll pull them out and throw them out of practice and they’ll have to be disciplined,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera said on Monday. “We’re not here to fight. That’s bulls—.
“What we’re here to do is learn from each other and help each other win. That’s the most important opportunity to come out of this.”
While both practices are in full pads, there will be no live periods in terms of tackling.
That Buffalo coach Sean McDermott was Rivera’s defensive coordinator at Carolina from 2011 to ’16 helps in that they have a similar philosophy in terms of the tempo of practice and what they want to accomplish. Much of what McDermott does he brought from the Panthers.
The two staffs planned to get together on Monday afternoon and go over practice scripts and field positioning. Before Tuesday morning’s practice, Rivera will address the Bills and McDermott the Panthers to reinforce the “no fighting” message as Rivera has done in the past when holding joint practices with Miami and Tennessee.
“And basically [tell] them, ‘Hey, we’re not here to fight. We’re here to help each other get better. The truth of the matter is we don’t face each other, and if we do that means we’re both in the Super Bowl,’ ” Rivera said.
“It’s a great opportunity to work against somebody different, somebody you don’t know and they don’t know you. So you’ve got to line up and play true football. To me, a guy fights out of frustration because he’s getting beat, because he’s getting stopped. I don’t want it.”
Rivera hopes this is a learning experience for him as well. He’s especially interested in what his staff might gain from the Bills having a sports scientist to help reduce injury and increase performance. McDermott already has expressed to Rivera concerns over the heat in Spartanburg.
“I’ve been trying to tweak them a little bit,” Rivera said. “I sent them the heat index from [Sunday] showing them it was 110. Hopefully, we can play a little psychological game.”