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Soup of the Day Post 15

    <span>Soup of the Day Blog 15  

We ended camp on Monday afternoon with a good, fast-paced practice.

It's really a phenomenal Chris Paul pump fake, though, in the grand scheme of things. We left Jackson in a hurry to get back to our residences in New Orleans, but we haven't technically finished training camp.

As I have previously written, you can never let your guard down. We still have the two-a-day practices and, of course, the final three pre-season games. More importantly at the moment, we are practicing against the Houston Texans and I don't just mean on Saturday night at the Superdome. We are also practicing against them twice today and once on Thursday morning, before we have our own practice on Thursday afternoon. It's essential that we are ready for these practices.

The two-team practice can be extremely beneficial. Last year we did the same thing against the Cincinnati Bengals before we played them in the pre-season. There was an understanding to play hard but also play smart. What this translates to is not taking any unnecessary shots or late hits, no cut blocks and no tackling in most drills. By eliminating some of the more violent aspects of the game, the chance of injuries decreases dramatically.

There is a pretty clear understanding of the style of practice that is emphasized by Coach Payton and Coach Kubiak of the Texans before practice. I am pretty sure that our joint practices will be played correctly but I have been a part of some of these two teams sessions that have evolved rapidly into something that looked more like a mixed martial arts fight.

In 2000 I was playing with the Cleveland Browns and we practiced together with the Indianapolis Colts. Let me tell you … this turned into a bloodbath. The practices ended up actually being just one practice. There was a fight about every other play. Not the one-on-one types of fights, mind you, these babies were like the 5-on-5 or bench clearing variety.

In hindsight, it was ridiculous. It wasn't smart and it ended up being a big waste of time. Some teams don't like each other and just won't practice against each other.

Teams practicing together seems a lot more common these days and there seems to be an efficiency to it these days. The intent of these practices is to get in work against different competition, see some different plays and styles, but also keeping in mind to treat the players on the other team as if they are your teammates in order to reduce the unnecessary fights and brawls.

It's also a fantastic tool to measure the talents of players just as in the games.

Measuring a player's skill level set can be difficult, but scouting a celebrity can be even more challenging. At our last practice at Millsaps College, we had a visitor, as I am sure you have heard by now. Country music star Kenny Chesney, a close friend of Coach Payton's, attended practice. He was not a spectator, mind you. He was a player. He wasn't in full pads in a live session but he was there to catch some passes and field a few punts. We were fortunate to have him at a practice last year, as well. It's not fair to him to be compared to a professional athlete, but he held his own. I think with one or two years of coaching with Curtis Johnson (our wide receivers coach), he should be up to par and ready to contribute! Of course, the fans of his music might just have an issue with that.

My advice is this: Kenny …Take some time out of your house in St. John's to decide your career path.

We will anxiously be awaiting your decision.

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