August 7, 2012
Jets display fighting spirit
Everything was a little different as the New York Jets began their second full week on training camp Monday at SUNY Cortland.
Head Coach Rex Ryan held his press conference before practice got underway, which was slated for a 10:15 a.m. start some two hours later than normal. The players hit the field with a lot of energy and then began hitting each other — in the non-legal way according to the rule book.
There have been minor skirmishes in camp prior to this encounter. Monday’s main pugilistic event featured running back Joe McKnight and Jets’ running back coach Anthony Lynn’s son — rookie defensive back D’Anton Lynn from Penn State — who is hoping to become a member of the Jets’ secondary.
The main event began when Lynn shoved McKnight, who was already out of bounds. McKnight countered with words before throwing the football and a punch at Lynn. The two began wrestling and were quickly joined by cornerbacks Donnie Fletcher and Julian Posey.
The defensive trio took McKnight to the ground and many players from the offensive and defensive sides joined in the fracas. The melee took place just a few feet from the fans on the sidelines and even caused a couple of sponsor signs to be knocked down. Luckily, none of the players — or signs for that matter — were injured as Coach Ryan and a few players helped break up the action.
“That was a first,” Lynn said. “That’s never happened to me before, so I lost my temper for a second. We’re not trying to hurt each other. I doubt he was trying to hurt me and I wasn’t trying to hurt him. It just kind of escalated for a minute. It was more wrestling than anything.”
“If you’re fighting, I mean, are you going to just love-tap him?” McKnight said. “I mean, you’re going to try to hit him. It’s a fight. It was something that just happened spur of the moment. I’m over it now. We’re teammates. I love him, just like I love his dad. So, we’re moving on.”
Coach Lynn gave the New York Daily News’ beat writer Manish Mehta the quote of the fight.
“You know, I’d probably just yell ‘Kick his ass’ and neither one would know who I was talking to.”
Ryan had his own view of the bout, which doesn’t even rank high on his list of training camp fisticuffs.
“Oh it’s not even close, not even close,” Ryan said while laughing. “We had way better ones my first year here and there’s no question about that. Like I said though, this is the first time we’ve seen a sign get knocked over, but I’ve seen way better ones than that.
“It is definitely time (to hit guys on another team),” quarterback Mark Sanchez said of the anxiety of the players. “You know, after the scrimmage that is very typical of a camp, guys’ tempers flaring and all of that. You know the most important thing and Coach (Ryan) has really preached it to us, and guys kind of forgot about it today, but we have got to protect the team.”
The day continued downhill for McKnight who suffered a stinger later in practice and went to the sidelines to be checked out by the very busy team trainer John Mellody. McKnight did return to the field to complete practice.
There was an undercard shoving match later Monday between cornerback Darrelle Revis and tight end John Cumberland, but nothing became of it.
Reportedly, another melee this morning led to Coach Ryan taking action as players had to take laps around the practice field to cool off.
As for the on-field quarterback report, Sanchez completed 5-of-11 passing attempts while Tim Tebow was 3-for-8. It was still the defense that controlled both QBs. Tebow was sacked six times while Sanchez was sacked three times. Sanchez did throw a nice touch pass to tight end Dustin Keller. Sanchez later hooked up for a 50-yard bomb to rookie Stephen Hill, who used his speed to run by Revis to make the catch.
“Steve ran a great route, the rest of the receivers pulled the coverage down and Stephen had a chance down the field,” Sanchez said. “He made a great catch, did a great job tracking the ball. That’s not exactly where it was drawn up for the catch point to be but he did a good job adjusting to the ball.”
In the continuing kicking competition, it was another perfect day for Nick Folk. He went 4-for-4 while Josh Brown was 2-for-4.
This morning’s practice was closed to spectators, but the Green and White faithful will be able to attend Wednesday’s workout from 8-11 a.m. It will be the last Cortland practice before Friday’s preseason game in Cincinnati.
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