For the second straight day, the Jets got physical with a mild training camp fight between rookies Demario Davis and Terrance Ganaway, followed up moments later by Antonio Cromartie getting into it first with Stephen Hill and then Dustin Keller. But rather than a circus, the scraps might just be a sign that training camp is drawing to a close.
After Tuesday’s second fight, head coach Rex Ryan made his team run “gassers” as a punishment, following up on his threat from the day before. On Monday, quarterback Mark Sanchez scolded his teammates for their involvement in a pile-up, but fights, even ones involving 20 players, are just a part of training camp.
“Training camp fights are rarely divisive and more typically the results of normal competitive juices flaring under the spotlight of coaches, [whom the players] are trying to impress. Fights in camp usually show an extra desire and a statement of wanting to belong and contribute than any negative divisiveness,” said sports psychologist Dr. John F. Murray, author of “The Mental Performance Index.”
The players are likely getting a bit antsy with the Jets closing in on the start of their preseason schedule with this Friday’s game at Cincinnati.
“The point I wanted them to understand is that I’m serious about it. I think a lot of times, guys will fight and they’ll do all that type of stuff, and as a coach, sometimes you want that out of your guys,” Ryan said. “You want them to be over-the-top aggressive because you can always rein them in. Sometimes if they don’t have that, then you kind of wonder. Clearly, I don’t question the guys’ toughness; I don’t question the guys’ courage. Now was the time to rein them in, and that’s what we did.”
For a former player like Roman Oben, training camp fights were a part of the business. A 12-year veteran, the former Giants lineman recalls nearly “four to five fights” a year during his first six years in the league. They always seemed to come around this time as he remembers.
“Usually fights begin to happen around this time — the seventh, eighth, ninth or 10th day of training camp. You’ve been going against the same person every day. These things build,” Oben told Metro. “They build and carryover. You’re tired of going up against the same person and you’re ready to hit someone. You know that the first game is coming up and you’re ready for it.”
But for a team like the Jets, it can be a slippery slope.
“No question, it brings the fight and attitude and shows our offense won’t be a pushover offense this season,” Santonio Holmes said.“For those guys to have that much fight in them, we just have to understand we don’t do something that’s detrimental to our team by doing this type of thing on Sundays, Fridays and whenever game days are. But it’s OK to get it in and out during our practice time.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for more offseason news.