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Cardinals Will Have Another Joint Practice In Preseason

Gannon can't say specifics yet but acknowledges it is AFC team

The Cardinals will again hold a joint practice against another team during the preseason, and with the heat and logistics of their own training camp, it is likely to be on the road.

Coach Jonathan Gannon declined to say against whom the Cards will practice against since the league has yet to give a final approval but "it's a really good football team in the AFC."

Last year, the Cardinals spent a week in Minnesota to practice against the Vikings prior to the team's playing their preseason finale. 

Hearing Gannon talk about the idea of joint practices emphasized it will likely be an annual part of the Cardinals' prep for the regular season. The league, Gannon said, had a presentation about joint practices and their benefits.

"It is a highly competitive environment where it is a little safer than a preseason game," Gannon said. "I always say there is a teeter-totter between development and safety. If you're too worried about development, you're going to get a bunch of guys hurt. If you are too worried about safety you're going to have no development. You have to find that sweet spot. (Joint work) is a way you kind of find a sweet spot."

Gannon said the Cardinals are deliberate in trying to work against a team that is different schematically on offense and defense as a way to hone his own players. 

"We're selective with how we do that and excited about our plan this year," Gannon said. "I like them and I think the players like them. You just have to be smart about what you are doing, make sure everyone is on board with what I call the rules of engagement, and from there, there is good evaluation and good development."

Joint practices don't hold all the answers, although Gannon noted, for example, a defensive back covering a certain receiver/teammate well in camp gets a chance to show it against a different receiver in a different scheme. That aids the coaches. (And you never know what might happen that week; last year's time in Minnesota was highlighted not with what happened on the field but the trade of Isaiah Simmons to the Giants and the trade for Joshua Dobbs.)

And while it can get testy at times, those "rules of engagement" Gannon spoke about keeps things clean.

"I know there have been (joint practice) fights in the past," Gannon said. "(But) the last couple years, teams I have been on, there haven't been any fights. Just make sure we stay safe, but I really don't see any downside."

Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Jonathan Gannon during a joint Training Camp practice with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, August 24, 2023 in Eagan, MN.