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Patriots, Panthers to hold joint practices in front of fans

Bill Belichick's team will host Carolina for two sessions ahead of the preseason clash between the clubs.

Mac Jones
Mac Jones practicing earlier in 2022. AP Photo/Steven Senne

Training camp on the fields behind Gillette Stadium typically provide fans with a great opportunity to get an up-close view of NFL practices. And as good as those opportunities are when it’s just Bill Belichick’s Patriots, they’re even better when there’s another team on the field, too.

Especially when that other team features one of the NFL’s most exciting athletes on its roster.

The Carolina Panthers will take the field with the Patriots for a pair of joint practices on Wednesday, August 17, and Thursday, August 18, potentially offering New England fans (and fantasy football owners) a first-hand look at star running back Christian McCaffrey ahead of the teams’ August 19 preseason game.


Whereas preseason games often see starters playing a limited number of series amid the unpredictable, uncontrollable flow of the exhibition game, joint practices can be orchestrated to create situations and scenarios reflecting where the coaches would like to focus their training. In the past, this has made some of these practices more game-like than the sanctioned, officiated “contest” that follows a day later. They can be intense, feisty, and starter-heavy.

That means those looking to see McCaffrey, or even Mac Jones, may get more of an opportunity to do so — for free, without needing a ticket — during one of the two practices on the back fields than they would by going into the stadium itself on Friday night that week.

Later in August, to wrap their preseason, the Patriots will be the guests for joint sessions with Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders. Last year the Patriots faced the Eagles and Giants in joint sessions, and since 2014 have participated in joint practices every year except 2018 and 2020.

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