In the regular season, it won’t be unusual for members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to drop lines about focusing on one opponent at a time, taking it one day at a time, etc. etc....
But, in the pre-season, we give players a little wiggle room when it comes to looking forward instead of focusing on the present. So, with a road trip to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers this Friday, it’s no big deal Ndamukong Suh is being asked, and answering questions about facing the Miami Dolphins in practice and on the field in Week 2 of the pre-season.
“I’m excited about it - to get after the quarterback, get after the running backs, see old faces [and] old teammates. [It’ll be nice to] be able to hang out with them and see how well they’re playing and progressing in their careers. I’ve always enjoyed joint practices. I think this will probably be my fourth or fifth one in the league, so it’s always a fun time especially when they’re traveling to us.”
As a member of the Los Angeles Rams, Suh didn’t get to see his former team during the 2018 NFL Season, marking next week’s joint practices as the first time he’ll suit up against the Dolphins since leaving Miami.
Bigger than Suh’s opportunity to meet up with old friends though, is the opportunity for the Bucs to get an extended look at how they stack up against other NFL talent. Neither team is expected to do much in regards to the national picture, but having the opportunity to face live competition during the height of their development as a team offers a big opportunity for accelerated growth between weeks one and two.
The lessons learned from Week 1 in Pittsburgh will get tested and taught moving forward. As Suh identified in his comments, these joint practices are a good way to practice for many reasons, and an even bigger opportunity for the team as a whole.