SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Panthers certainly aren't easing into the close of training camp at Wofford College. The Miami Dolphins are coming to town for two fully padded practices to wrap camp before the teams' preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday night.
"In these next two days the intensity level will be really good," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We've got an opportunity to get some really good work.
"It's eight days between our last preseason game and the one we are about to play, so I think it does come at a good time. We can really work on some things."
The teams will primarily focus on situational football. Players will go live to the ball and they'll be instructed to square up ball carriers. Rivera said each team will conduct individual drills on separate fields, and they'll come together for scrimmage periods.
Rivera and Miami head coach Joe Philbin will work out any remaining details when the Dolphins arrive in Spartanburg on Tuesday afternoon.
Here are some items to watch for when the teams take the practice field.
BOILING POINT: Everyone will be keeping a close eye on any post-whistle activity. Fights can be difficult to avoid during joint practices where two teams are measuring themselves against one another. It may be just practice, but pride is on the line during each rep. We'll see if everyone keeps their cool in the South Carolina heat.
FACING OFF WITH SUH: Dolphins tackle Ndamukong Suh is one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the league. How will second-year guards Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner handle the challenge when they collide with Suh? Rivera is eager to find out, and he hopes Suh gives them all he's got.
"He's a dynamic football player, and we know that," Rivera said. "Hopefully he'll bring it and really challenge our young guys."
UP FOR GRABS: The one-on-one battles between wide receivers and cornerbacks offer a lot of intrigue. On one hand, you have Panthers cornerbacks Josh Norman and Charles Tillman against Dolphins wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills. On the other, you've got Carolina wideout Kelvin Benjamin up against Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes. That's a lot of talent going head-to-head when the ball is in the air.
READING THE FIELD: The quarterbacks should benefit greatly from the joint practices. It's a controlled setting, and they'll get a chance to see different coverages and schemes than what they're used to. The Carolina coaching staff will hope to see Cam Newton read the defense and make quick, smart decisions with the ball.