Most NFL coaches value joint practices with opposing teams more than preseason games for its structured competition and ability to work on certain aspects against a new opponent in a controlled setting.
For some players, these joint sessions are also a chance to learn from fellow players.
Following Tuesday's intense, fight-filled practice between the Panthers and Patriots, Carolina defensive ends Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos spent about 30 minutes working with New England's edge rusher Matt Judon.
"Pretty much just picking his brain about rushing and how he approaches it," Burns said, via the team's official website. "He's had a lot of success in this league, has been doing it for a long time, so just picking his brain. The more knowledge you know."
Burns is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and has generated nine sacks each of the past two seasons. While he and Judon don't play the same exact position, Burns noted learning from a vet with 47 career sacks in six seasons can only add to his repertoire.
"Judon's good at a lot of things," Burns said. "He has elite bend. His moves are crisp. He's very physical. And his approach to rush is a lot different than I thought."
Picking the brain of fellow defenders isn't new for Burns. He similarly worked with Colts DT DeForest Buckner during last year's joint sessions. During the Pro Bowl he learned from veteran Chandler Jones.
"Anybody I've played against, after the game or whatever," he said. "I even talked to a couple of tackles about pass-rushing, and how they do things.
"I'll do it with anybody. I'll talk pass-rush with anybody. I can pick through what I want, and what I don't."
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