Wednesday, August 8, 2012
No fights for Jets in camp
By Rich Cimini ESPNNewYork.com
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- After two days of fighting, the New York Jets made nice.
There were a couple of tense moments Wednesday -- Mark Sanchez barked at linebacker Aaron Maybin for hitting a quarterback in a non-contact drill -- but the team managed to get through an entire practice without any skirmishes.
Perhaps tired of being a punch line, the Jets held their punches.
On Friday night, they get to take out their frustrations on a real opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I'd say so, before we kill each other," tight end Dustin Keller said, laughing.
Keller and cornerback Antonio Cromartie were involved in one of Tuesday's scuffles, triggered when the cornerback blasted him on a pass over the middle in a 7-on-7 drill.
Keller admitted he was upset by the hit, adding that he and Cromartie still haven't talked. Cromartie declined interviews for the second straight day.
"It's not a big deal," Keller said.
It was a big deal for coach Rex Ryan, who twice lashed into the team and made it run 11 gassers in the middle of Tuesday's practice. Ryan said the team heeded his message. Keller said the threat of gassers dissuaded players from brawling.
For a moment, it looked like tempers could flare again. As Sanchez said, "There were a couple of chances where guys were really ready to square off again." They both involved Maybin.
Ignoring the no-contact rule on quarterbacks, Maybin came crashing into the backfield and grabbed the arm of rookie Matt Simms as he delivered a ball. Early in camp, Maybin pulled the same stunt against Sanchez.
This time, Sanchez yelled across the field, telling Maybin to stop it. Later, Maybin was flagged for a late hit on wide receiver Eron Riley.
"Love the effort, love his intensity, but like we said the other day, you have to compete to the last second, but don't go overboard because you risk hurting a teammate," Sanchez said. "The No. 1 rule around here is protect the team."
Ryan said Maybin still is "a work in progress."
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A few hours after Tuesday's fights, the Jets took a team trip to a local theater. The night out was scheduled long before the brawls, but the timing was perfect. They rented the entire theater, giving players the option of four different movies.
Ryan is big on team-building exercises. Obviously, the Jets could use it. The coach was livid Tuesday, cursing out his players during practice for what he described as selfish behavior.
Tebow said he didn't mind Ryan's salty vocabulary. He loved the intensity.
"He's a passionate coach, and I love that," he said. "That's one of the reasons why he's great. You don't ever want to take that away from someone ... He's just real. He's authentic. He's genuine. He is who he is, and that's so awesome to be around as a player."