FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Fisticuffs won't be tolerated in the Jets' locker room -- or on the practice field.
Tempers reached a boiling point Sunday when two skirmishes broke out during 11-on-11 drills. So Todd Bowles stopped practice and made his entire team run gassers, five back-and-forth sprints across the length of the practice field.
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Fights in practice are something Bowles won't condone. That was his approach even before Tuesday's locker-room altercation in which a punch from Ikemefuna Enemkpali -- now a former Jet -- broke Geno Smith's jaw.StoryBowles upset Geno played catch 2 days after surgeryStoryJets say they've moved on from Geno punchStorySource: Enemkpali punched Geno over $600
"We've got to take care of each other at the same time,'' Bowles said. "There's no cutting and no hitting in the back, no cheap shots. If it's good, clean play, I don't have a problem. They can talk all day.''
Damon "Snacks'' Harrison took that message to heart. For the duration of their two-hour practice, the nose tackle's deep voice and Southern drawl were as unrelenting as the blazing sun. And no player was safe from his chirping or chiding.
"Snacks is practicing to be an auctioneer,'' Bowles quipped.
Talking trash and jawing at one another is fine, Bowles said. But fighting with teammates isn't.
The first incident was a brief skirmish between linebacker Quinton Coples and offensive lineman Breno Giacomini. The second began with offensive lineman Dalton Freeman and defensive lineman Jason Babin throwing punches and soon escalated into a pileup of players.
"As a defense, we didn't perform how we wanted to in the first preseason game, so we said we want to treat every down like a game,'' cornerback Buster Skrine said. "Everybody's trying to go hard, trying to impress the coaches, get better. And they got into a fight.
"Coach doesn't want that because we need everybody to play on Sunday .''
As soon as slot receiver Jeremy Kerley saw the second fight being broken up, he knew exactly what to do next. "I just walked to the line. I already knew what was coming,'' he said, smiling.
By now, all of Bowles' players are aware of his expectations and rules. Last Monday, he made them run three gassers after a "sluggish'' practice. On Sunday, he doled out more punishment.
"We knew the whole team was going to have to run them,'' Kerley said. "It's just part of the game. Guys are out there barking. You want competitive guys, you want guys that don't back down from nothing, so fights are going to happen.''
Bowles knows that, too. He joked that more fights "probably'' will occur because of the combination of "testosterone,'' fatigue and heat. But he's striving to find that balance between physical and reckless.
"It's hard,'' he said. "It's a fine line. You've got to understand situational football at the same time. You can't fight and be braggadocious and loud if you don't understand what's going on in the game, because that makes for a dumb player. And we're not trying to have dumb players.''
Notes & quotes: Safety Calvin Pryor has been excused from practice for several days because of a death in the family. It's unlikely he'll play Friday against the Falcons . . . Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson (hamstring) didn't practice for a seventh straight day.