August 8, 2012
Miffed Rex has Jets on the run
The New York Jets still had some fighting spirit during Tuesday’s training camp practice. A little too much, in fact, to suit Head Coach Rex Ryan and his staff on owner Woody Johnson’s first day in Cortland.
A day after Monday’s SUNY Cortland skirmish between running back Joe McKnight and defensive back D’Anton Lynn, things got chippy again. So after a warning from Ryan failed to cool things down enough, the entire team ended up running 11 sideline-to-sideline wind sprints — known as “gassers” — to drive home the point.
Even after that, another disagreement prompted Ryan to stop practice again to deliver a message, which was then reinforced by quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Tuesday’s trouble started when a pair of rookies, running back Terrance Ganaway and linebacker Demario Davis, tussled after Ganaway took a drill that wasn’t supposed to involve hard contact a bit too far. At that point, Ryan stopped the proceedings and lit into the team, warning players that another fight would mean they would all run.
Shortly after, during a 7-on-7 drill with Sanchez under center, cornerback Antonio Cromartie got fired up and began jawing with receiver Stephen Hill. Cromartie then hit Dustin Keller after a completion on the next play, and the two went faceguard-to-faceguard before teammates stepped in.
That did it as far as Ryan was concerned, and soon the running commenced, with quarterback Tim Tebow leading the way to the far sideline and back each time.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis, with a lower back injury that happened during the session, and linebacker Bart Scott finished their assigned running after practice.
That still wasn’t the end of things. Offensive tackle Dennis Landolt then injured his knee — to what extent was unknown — during a pass blocking drill against defensive tackle Marcus Dixon, who in turn felt the verbal wrath of Brandon Moore before Landolt was taken off the field.
Ryan then gathered the entire squad once again for some words before Sanchez did the same.
“I’m glad we’re playing somebody else on Friday,” Ryan said, referring to the Jets visiting the Cincinnati Bengals that day in both teams’ preseason opener. “It’ll be good, it’s that time of year. You’ve already had your scrimmage. When you come back it’s not uncommon that there are guys who are chippy and still want to hit. But my big thing is protecting your teammates.”
Ryan noted that it marked the first time in his three years at the helm of the team that he’s had to stop a practice in such a manner.
“I’d already talked to them about taking care of each other, and then when I saw a situation exactly what I was talking about, not taking care of one another, I’d seen enough and just ran them,” he said. “We’ve had some cases where there’s been some chippiness, and it was just time to do it.
“I saw a rookie run through a guy and it’s a ‘thud’ period, you thud off a guy, and he tried to run through a guy. That’s not what you’re looking for. That’s not being physical; that, to me, is being selfish. I told the guys about it and sure enough, apparently somebody never got the message.”
For his part, Davis was forgiving about the situation, noting: “That wasn’t nothing major. That wasn’t nothing at all, just a play that got physical. It’s a physical game.”
Cromartie refused to meet with the news media after practice, but Hill had some thoughts about what happened.
“I’m not sure. If anything we just go hard against each other,” he said, noting that he didn’t think Cromartie was screaming at him. “It’s nothing bad. He’s just really preparing me for the game. We’re coming out here and being a lot physical. The little tussle was just uncalled for, but we came back together and coach Ryan got us in place. He’s a good players’ coach, and he’s doing a good job of keeping us in line.
“Just be careful,” Hill said when asked about what Ryan told the team. “We’re teammates. When we get out on the field we’re going to be cheering each other on instead of battling each other. We’re ready to go; you can tell. We’re kind of tired of hitting each other a little bit, but we’re still competing.”
“This is mild compared to what we’ve had in the past,” Ryan said. “Once they figure it out, that I can be physical and can still take care of my teammate; it’s a fine line and it’s just a matter of finding that.”
ON THE QUARTERBACK FRONT, Sanchez went 2-for-8 with a touchdown (to Ganaway) and an interception, by linebacker David Harris at the goal line in a team drill. He was sacked twice. Tebow went 2-for-3 and had a nice gain on a bootleg run to the left.
“Mark threw the ball well,” Ryan said. “David Harris made a great play on him in the red zone for the interception. We had a backed-up situation. It was tough sledding initially for the offense, but I liked the way the offense responded. Later in that same drill they came back and popped some first downs through there, so that was good to see. You’ve got to be able to run the ball when the other team knows you’re running it. If you can, if you’re successful that way, it’s going to be a long day for that defense. I saw a little of that today.
“Bilal Powell (rookie running back) is a guy who continues to impress. He made some great jump cuts, he did some different things. He has really been impressive to me.”
WITH ALL OF THE EXTRA TIME needed to sort things out, incumbent kicker Nick Folk and Josh Brown, who is challenging him for the spot, did not see any action Tuesday.
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