Midway through Monday’s practice, New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles signaled for the airhorn to go off. Practice wasn’t over and the session, an 11-on-11 drill, wasn’t completed. Instead, it was the first-year head coach pointing his entire team to the sideline to run sprints.
It was a sluggish, blah day of practice for the Jets, who appeared to have a hangover from the day off on Sunday. The session was supposed to be a light one with the players in shells and going half-speed.
But even by that standard, things were just sloppy.
There were penalties, including two for offensive pass interference, and a lot of blown assignments. All of which led Bowles to gather up his team and let them know the focus wasn’t there.
Oh, and line up for some sprints.
“We’re a little sluggish today, a little average. We can’t be average,” Bowles said following practice. “First day since camp started that we looked a little sluggish. It’s a wake up call.”
All told, the team ran three sets of sprints, from one sideline to another. Bowles didn’t light into the team but wanted to send a clear message to his players.
It comes after a training camp where both sides of the ball have been relatively sharp and clean. To date, this is the first training camp practice where Bowles has made his entire team run sprints, let alone stop practice to do so.
He didn’t see the grind of training camp as weighing on his team or as an excuse.
“No you can’t be sluggish. You can’t practice average if you want to be great. You can have very few of those days and today was the first time. I don’t think it was a big deal but at the same time, they have to understand where we are. And today we didn’t have a good day,” Bowles said.
“I’m sure it will come back tomorrow.”
- Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson did some practicing with the team following missing the entirety of last week as well as the Green & White Practice on Saturday night with a hamstring injury. Monday marked his first day back being integrated with the team.
It doesn’t appear like he will play Thursday night in the preseason opener at the Detroit Lions.
“He did a little bit today but still no timetable for him coming back,” Bowles said.
- Quarterback Geno Smith threw his first interception of training camp, getting pick off by cornerback Marcus Williams, who has had a good camp. Williams jumped the route and took off for what would have been a Pick-Six.
- As for Smith on Thursday night, Bowles said he will only get reps with the first-team and sounded like fellow quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will run with the second team. The starters likely will get only a couple series.
“We’ll see how it goes, they won’t go very long. But have a playcount in my head, I’ll discuss it with the coaches after practice today,” Bowles said. “We’ll get out there, try to play against somebody else. Hopefully both sides do well early on.”