It is no accident that the New York Jets are holding practice during the hottest time of the day, something that first-year head coach Todd Bowles hopes will pay dividends once training camp closes and preseason starts.
Over the past six years, the Jets have usually started their training camp sessions mid-morning, getting the players off the field around lunch time and before the fields got too hot. But under Bowles, the players come in for an early lunch and then they hit the fields today at 1:50 P.M., much later than under previous head coach Rex Ryan. They are also doing so in northern New Jersey, a location warmer and with more humidity then their previous training camp home about three hours to the north.
Bowles said it is to take advantage of the heat to get his team in better shape.
“It's hot. It's not Cortland, guys have to get in shape. Some guys ran indoors all summer. You need to get in heat shape. You practice in 70 degrees and then go play a preseason game and it is 90 degrees, you're in trouble. It help gets guys in shape,” Bowles said on Thursday following the first day of training camp.
“It helps better with the curfew at night so guys have nothing to do but go to sleep. It's really getting guys in shape and getting them in football shape.”
Bowles final comment about the curfew drew a chuckle from the media that pressed around him but it rings true. Curfew might be more difficult to impose in familiar surroundings.
Unlike in years past when the Jets went to upstate New York for training camp, they instead are holding this first-year under Bowles at their team facility. This means that the players are closer to their homes and closer to temptations. They know the area, have friends nearby and a favorite hot spot to hit up. That couldn't be said of Cortland, a small town with as many cows as residents.
New York City is a short drive away now and the north Jersey area affords more temptations than Cortland did. And under Ryan, the team stayed in dorms while in training camp.
Here, the Jets are forced into a hotel not too far from the training center. All of which makes the team's later start to practice more than just about fitness but about keeping Bowles team doing the right things this summer.
According to Weather.com, the high temperature at the team's facility was five degrees warmer than in Cortland.