CHARLOTTE – For the first time since 2000 when they hosted the Detroit Lions, the Panthers are practicing with another NFL team during training camp. The Miami Dolphins will visit Wofford College for the final two days of training camp practice on August 19 and 20. Carolina hosts the Dolphins in a preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday, August 22.
"It's a unique opportunity for us to have our guys practice for two days at a different tempo, at a different level against a different style," head coach Ron Rivera said. "In all three phases it gives us an opportunity to look at different situations. In talking with (Dolphins head coach) Joe Philbin, we plan on doing situational football together. We'll use different ideas and combine the way they do things with the way we do things. It will benefit both teams mutually."
One of the benefits of joint practices is the increased intensity level. After lining up against the same teammates throughout the dog days of camp, a chance to face an actual opponent ups the ante.
"It's important that the competitive juices will spike a little bit," Rivera said, "and it gives our guys an opportunity to measure themselves."
Rivera is well aware that increased practice intensity against another team has the potential to boil over. But he is confident both squads will practice hard without going too far.
"That's always a concern – that the tempo is going to get out of control," Rivera said. "But we are going to emphasize that we are looking to get positive, quality work against each other. That's what I am looking for."
Rivera is particularly excited about the opportunity this offers quarterback Cam Newton, who will be able to read an opposing defense with no risk of taking hits.
"It's a controlled setting and it creates a positive situation for our quarterback to see different coverages and schemes," Rivera said. "I think that will help him."
Just like the other training camp practices, fans can watch the Panthers-Dolphins joint sessions free of charge.