Joint practices between NFL teams can most times be more important than actual preseason games because it is best on best. Everyone is playing, including the starters who don’t usually play in the preseason games. Everyone is going their hardest. It stokes the competitive fire between the teams. Joint practices between losing teams aren’t always the most beneficial because the talent and drive sometimes doesn’t show up. That is not the case with the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints this week.
Joint practices between the Packers and Saints took place Tuesday and will also take place Wednesday before the team’s lock horns Friday night for each team’s second game of the preseason. These are two playoff contending teams at the very least. Green Bay has it’s eyes set on bringing the Lombardi Trophy home while New Orleans is entering year one with Dennis Allen as Head Coach. These two teams met a year ago in the first week of the season. New Orleans destroyed Green Bay 38-3, which was a surprise to the entire football world. The Packers beat the Saints the previous year 37-30. So, these teams know each other quite well.
These teams have very strong rosters. They both have top 10 defenses returning from a season ago. The likes of All-Pro players in Demario Davis, Tyrann Mathieu, Marshon Lattimore, and Cam Jordan lead the Saints defense. Fellow stars in De’Vondre Campbell, Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark, and Rashan Gary lead Green Bay’s defensive unit. Both teams also have elite running backs in Pro-Bowlers Alvin Kamara and Aaron Jones. The Saints have a very solid wide receiver group led by Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and rookie Chris Olave. The Packers have a unique core with a solid balance of youth and experience (Lazard, Cobb, Watkins, Doubs, and Watson). The best is saved for last. That is Aaron Rodgers. He is back for his 18th season in Green Bay. Opposite of the back-to-back MVP is Saints signal-caller Jameis Winston, who had 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions before he suffered a major knee last year that ended his season.
Both teams have great players taking the field this week. They will make each other better because they are both contenders. Their familiarity with each other is also key. Again, this will be a very important stretch of the preseason for both teams because this is where the starters will get the bulk of the reps. These reps will be coming against the best starters. Preseason games are important but only because teams are looking to see who can make their 53-man roster and who can make a difference on the team. Joint practices are a different kind of animal. Packers-Saints is going to be excitig for both teams and fan bases.