FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — His words pierced the air like razor blades, punctuating practice with fiery critiques and spirited praise for his players.
To say that new Jets outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene is intense would be an understatement. Even now, at age 54, the Hall of Famer looks ready for the WWE stage, complete with the same passion and flair that typified his 15-year NFL career.
“Kevin’s like Hulk Hogan and Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said after Saturday’s session.
After only two days of rookie minicamp, it’s hard to gauge whether the 2017 Jets will bring the same intensity to the playing field. But some of Bowles’ newest additions to the staff — Greene, offensive coordinator Joe Morton, running backs coach Stump Mitchell and defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson — have more than enough passion.
Greene, who spent time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the late 1990s, was so fired up during practice that he spiked a garbage can that was being used on the field during a passing drill.
“He enjoys it to the fullest,” Bowles said of Greene, a two-time first-team All-Pro with the third-most sacks (160) in NFL history. “I mean, he loves the game. He coaches like he plays. He was an intense player, he’s an intense coach. But don’t mistake that for him not being very bright. He’s a very bright guy.”
After the retirement of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and the firing of five assistants in January, Bowles set out to hire coaches who shared similar traits and a common thread. “We had good coaches last year,” he said. “I was looking for different types, as far as teaching their guys a different way. And with the system we had coming in, I knew the kind of guys I was looking for and all those guys who replaced the [old coaches] we had kind of fit the bill.”
And the yelling is just as noticeable as the practice tempo quickens. “They’re communicating,” Bowles said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are coaching and we’ve got a lot of ‘voices guys,’ so you can hear them all. And they’re coaching their guys up, which is what you want to see.”
Asked if certain positions lend themselves to vocal coaches, Bowles said: “It’s not positions as much as it is coaches. Depending on when you hire your staff, you have your screamers, then you have your teachers, then you have your mellow guys, and they all teach differently.
“But you want to find a good mix between them. You definitely want some [fiery coaches], but not scream for the sake of screaming. Just intense teaching, maybe, but understanding when to pull back and when to go forward. And I think we have those guys.”