The Bills are one of 13 NFL teams that have scheduled joint practices with another rival during training camp this summer.
It's a trend that NFL coaches have embraced since the new collective bargaining agreement eliminated two-a-day practices in training camp. The Bills leave for Pittsburgh Tuesday afternoon, and will have practices against the Steelers Wednesday and Thursday in Latrobe, Pa.
Teams get more work and better evaluations out of their players by going up against different schemes and different players. They also get more snaps in controlled, specific game situations. A starting unit might not get any snaps in the red zone or in short-yardage in a particular exhibition game. Joint practices allow coaches to manage snaps in all game situations.
New England coach Bill Belichick was at the forefront of the joint practice trend, and the Patriots are one of three teams this summer that have scheduled joint practices with two different clubs.
The Patriots practiced against Washington last week and will work against Philadelphia this week in advance of a Friday exhibition against the Eagles.
Houston has joint practices against Denver and Atlanta. The Falcons have joint practices against Tennessee and Houston.
The Patriots held joint practices with New Orleans and Atlanta in 2010, with New Orleans and Tampa in 2012, and with Philadelphia and Tampa in 2013.
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh saw enough value in the idea that he took his team cross-country last week to practice against his brother's team, the Baltimore Ravens.
"We’ve gotten good work in with the teams we’ve practice against," Belichick told the NFL Network. "The two teams have to be philosophically on the same page and ready to work together."
"It gives us a good measurement of what they can do against something else," Belichick said. "Like we’ve seen them work against the same scheme and same players the last week and a half. Now it gives us a new look. It’s certainly interesting to see how they look against different schemes, different players."