Nov 30, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cleveland Browns fans during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns will hold a pair of joint practice sessions with the Buffalo Bills this summer, adding a little bit of spice to what is often an otherwise dull time of the year.
The practices will be held on Aug. 17 at 10 a.m. and Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y. The two practice sessions will also serve as a run-up to the teams meeting in a preseason friendly on Aug. 20 at FirstEnergy Stadium, a game that will be televised by ESPN.
In addition to the opportunity to hit someone wearing a different color jersey, the practice sessions should be interesting because of the longstanding working relationship between Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine and Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan.
The duo spent time together in Baltimore from 2002 to 2008, and in New York for four seasons, and Pettine will be looking to show his former boss that he learned his lessons well, while the always feisty Ryan, in his first year in charge of the Bills after six years as head coach of the Jets, will be out to show Pettine and the NFL that the Bills defense is ready to go.
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“I think it raises the level of competition,” Pettine said of the opportunity to practice against another team. “Your guys after a while get tired of going against each other at training camp. You don’t get a good sense of where you are. I just think it ratchets up the competitive juices and I think you get a little more out of it so we are very much looking forward to it.”
Ryan echoed Pettine’s comments about the competitive benefits of working against another team.
“Joint practices give you more of a chance to evaluate players and do different things,” Ryan told the Bills’ website. “It peaks the competition. We want these two days to be productive and we are excited to work against the Browns.”
The Browns and the Bills have worked in training camp before, with the Browns last traveling to St. John Fisher in 2004.