SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the goal of this week’s scrimmages against the Miami Dolphins is for both teams to get better, not start fights.
The Dolphins and Panthers will scrimmage Wednesday and Thursday at Wofford College in advance of their Saturday night preseason game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rivera wants to avoid the scenario that happened last week between the Redskins and Texans where coaches had to call off the final scrimmage because of a sideline-clearing brawl.
“The idea is they’ll manage the whistle and if things start we’ll nip it in the bud,” Rivera said. “If we have to take guys off the field, we’ll do it.
“The idea is to work. It’s not to come in and have a big brawl. We want to actually get quality practice.”
Rivera said he’s talked with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and they’ve taken measures to prevent fighting.
Rivera will be on one field and Philbin will be on the other with the coaches in charge of both teams.
“I told Ron (if) he sees one of our guys out of line, I’m going to tell the team coach Rivera is in charge of that field and he said the same thing to me; if I see someone out of line on the field I’m on,” Philbin said. “We’re up there to get some work done and compete against a really good team.”
Both coaches acknowledged there will probably be some heated moments, but players have to control themselves and not let their emotions get out of hand.
Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander said he’s looking forward to the competition and expects the intensity to pick up.
“It does because you’re not hitting the same guys,” Alexander. You expect the level of play and intensity to pick up because it’s another team.”
Said Panthers rookie Shaq Thompson: “It all comes down to being disciplined.”
The practice will last about two-and-a-half hours and will start in the early morning.
“This is a great opportunity for our football teams to grow,” Rivera said. “We don’t play each other during the regular season, so it’ll be a good time to utilize our offensive and defensive strategies and really test the other team and help the other team.”