Their unofficial workout is officially over.
The Jets finished up their three days of player-run practices at Farleigh Dickinson University today, which is just across the street from their Atlantic Health Training Center, barely a Mark Sanchez Hail Mary away.
More than 40 players participated in the sessions that included everything from film study to 11-on-11 team drills, and according to Sanchez, no one got hurt.
"We conducted these private player-organized workouts mainly just to get back into shape and make sure guys were working out and studying their playbooks," Sanchez said this afternoon on a conference call. "It started just very similar to 'Jets West,' but an extended version."
"It was definitely a success, got some of the younger guys acquainted with veteran players, got everybody back again," the third-year signal-caller added. "It was good to see everybody’s face again and make sure guys are looking like they are in good shape. And they definitely looked like that."
Each day, the players kicked things off by spending roughly an hour in the classroom, going over various Power Point presentations and studying film before hitting the field. They totaled nearly two hours doing field work, breaking down into individual groups prior to coming together for 7-on-7 action and some 11-on-11.
Sanchez also made photo copies of one of his old playbooks and distributed them, allowing for a camp-type installation. On Monday, they went through mostly the basics, cranking things up a notch Tuesday before getting even more complicated with red-zone specific action Wednesday.
Sanchez took the lead for the skill position players, while Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore ran the offensive linemen sessions. Bart Scott, David Harris and Darrelle Revis handled the defense.
"It's good to get the guys together," Mangold said. "I think we got some good work in, but it's still not the same as having the coaches out there and being able to go through what we usually go through."
He later added: "As much as we get to do these player workout and stuff like that, it’s not the same as having -- for myself -- an elite offensive line coach like Bill Callahan out there coaching me."
The whole thing came together in about two weeks, initially starting with Sanchez, Moore and Mangold emailing their teammates to see about their availability. They were offered a few different dates and settled on this week, preferring to get it in now. Sanchez thought that was a good thing considering the optimism that's grown over the last few days due to reported progress in the CBA talks.
"Absolutely, and we took that into account when we set the dates for this camp," Sanchez said. "We wanted to do it as early as possible so the next possible date was next week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But we decided on this week. Hopefully, the deal is done as soon as possible. As fun as Farleigh Dickinson was, as inviting and as accommodating as it might’ve been, we hope that for all the right reasons, we are back at our facility pretty soon at Atlantic Health. So we are just hopeful things go well."
For now, though, getting that camaraderie going again was the first step.
"That was huge," Sanchez said. "That was half the battle, just getting some introductions out the way, getting to see everybody’s face again. That’s kind of been our thing when we organize camps. We want to make sure we have a little fun."
And they did, in their own little way.
"We had a knockout tournament in the gym, a three-point shooting contest and Hugo Boss offered to donate two full suits and ties -- shirts and everything, the whole outfit -- to the two winners," Sanchez said. "Drew Coleman and Joe McKnight won. We had the whole team involved. So it was fun. We had a good time with it, make sure guys are having fun, getting a little conditioning in at the same time. I don’t even think they even realized that they were, so it was good."
Mangold said the offensive linemen even came up with an idea to lighten things up during the tediousness of the position drills.
"We had a little acting competition every day," he said, "that I think kept guys interested in what we were doing."
Typically, the Jets love to talk, taking their cue from brash, trash-talking head coach Rex Ryan. But they elected to try to keep this three-day workout as quiet as possible, instead opting to shun the spotlight.
"We just wanted to be able to focus," Sanchez said. "I think we've seen the extreme in 'Hard Knocks,' and how everything with the media, every little thing, if you sneeze, it's out there in print, on a blog or on TV. This is our chance to really just relax and do it our way, keep it quiet, have fun with the guys and keep it just a team thing.
"When you don't have that time, potentially not going to Cortland, potentially not going to training camp, this was as close to that as we could replicate. So we wanted it to be about us, just keep it quiet and have a little fun."