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Broncos and 49ers won’t use full pads to avoid injuries in joint practices

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers are holding joint practices this week before playing against one another in Week 3 of the NFL’s preseason. Both coaches have come to an accord over some ground rules, including a safety measure.

While players will wear upper pads, the practices won’t feature full pads, which Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak explained is an attempt at limiting injuries.

“We won’t have our bottoms on but we’ll be padded up,” Kubiak said (h/t Paul Gutierrez of ESPN). “We’ll be physical in practice…we just want to do everything we can to keep everybody off the ground.”

Gutierrez also notes the measure could also potentially keep players from fighting, which has been somewhat of a problem this preseason for other teams. The Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams famously got into a joint-practice brawl last week, and these meetings between teams typically produce at least one heated exchange between players who can finally vent against someone who isn’t their teammate.

Of course, NFL players who’ve been going at this training camp thing for weeks now might not care about whether or not they are wearing full pads. When things get heated, punches start flying. Hopefully this won’t be the case between these two storied franchises this week.

The real issue, however, and the one Kubiak mentioned, is keeping “everybody off the ground.”

Injuries have already been keenly felt by most NFL teams, and we haven’t even gotten to the regular season. Both coaches will be preaching to their players all week to stay smart and get the most out of practices without going overboard.

The joint practices will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, and these teams will take to the field for the third preseason game on the schedule on Saturday. Kickoff begins at 9 p.m. ET at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Co.