49ers, Broncos hope for 2 clean practices minus fighting
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jim Tomsula won’t tolerate fighting from his San Francisco players when they take the field with the Broncos this week for a pair of joint practices.
Denver coach Gary Kubiak wishes everybody would just play football and quit talking about the tussling.
Given the skirmishes around the league so far in such two-team training-camp scenarios, the Niners and Broncos want to keep things classy in the Mile High City. The teams will practice together Wednesday and Thursday before they face off in a preseason game Saturday night.
”In terms of what other people do in these, I’d be extremely disappointed if anything like that happened where we were,” Tomsula said. ”I don’t expect it.”
Just last week for Dallas, Dez Bryant took a punch to the face in a joint practice with the St. Louis Rams in Oxnard, California. Before that, tempers flared between the Texans and Redskins in multiple sideline-clearing brawls that forced coaches to separate practice at the end.
Otherwise, it’s been a fairly peaceful preseason with opponents sharing a practice field. Part of that is because coaches have spoken out about the consequences for their players if it were to happen.
”I would like everybody to quit talking about it, to be honest with you,” Kubiak said last week. ”I want players to worry about playing and getting ready to play the game.”
Players from the Dolphins and Panthers kept their poise, and so did the Colts and Bears. Now it’s the Niners’ and Broncos’ turn to follow suit.
Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman is counting on it.
”I think that you get a lot of good work out of it as long as you have responsible people on both sides,” Hillman said. ”A lot of those fights could’ve been avoided. You really don’t want to fight because you’re tired the rest of the practice.”
Tomsula expressed appreciation for Kubiak and the Broncos staff for the planning that already has been done for the teams to get the most out of this intense week.
”No. 1, it excites me because I feel like that’s a class-act organization,” Tomsula said. ”Everything in our preparations, their organization and our people have worked together. It’s been great. The coaching staff there, a lot of respect for them and what they do.”
Tomsula has said he would play ”traffic cop” when needed if his players became heated or emotional enough to get into it with each other. Then he joked last week that ”I thought I was going to be a tow truck” as he dealt with one of defensive lineman Tank Carradine’s scuffles on the practice field. Carradine was punched by wide receiver Quinton Patton at one point, prompting Tomsula to briefly halt the workout.
”Yeah, we handed out a couple citations yesterday,” Tomsula said.
Kubiak knows how successful such sessions can be when everybody stays focused and on task.
”I’ve been a part of a lot of those through the years. I’ve been a part of some great ones and been a part of some that are not so good,” Kubiak said. ”Coach (Tomsula) and I have talked and it is different doing joint practices in Week 3 because that’s normally kind of when you’re going through your routine. That will be a little bit different for us trying to mix the two, but it’ll be a good group to work against.”
Notes: 49ers WR Torrey Smith has a sore knee that kept him out of team drills Tuesday ahead of the team’s flight to Colorado. … Michael Wilhoite practiced for the first time this training camp after sitting out with a muscle strain, and he lined up as a starter at inside linebacker alongside NaVorro Bowman. Wilhoite expects to play against the Broncos.
AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.
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