The Jets have a saying when it comes to the final practice of the week.
But today’s practice was anything but pristine.
Rex Ryan voiced frustration Friday afternoon over the mistakes that were made on both offense and defense. With just two days before their most important game of the preseason, the coach said communication was the team’s biggest issue on the practice field.
“If this was a regular-season Friday, I’d be very concerned,” he said. “I’m still concerned that it’s a preseason game, but I’m concerned. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”
According to the Jets, 2,772 fans attended today’s final open (to the public) practice – bringing their attendance total for the past two days to 5,157. Fans on Friday witnessed a lot of short-yardage and goal-line game-planning, as the first-team offense and defense worked against the scout teams. (Tim Tebow did get a rep at quarterback with first-team offense.)
Before practice, Ryan talked to players for several minutes. He told reporters during his afternoon press conference that he felt compelled to address the chippiness he’s seen of late.
The goal of his pre-practice talk, said Ryan, was to “make sure that we’re taking care of each other.”
“We don’t need that,” he said. “I love the competition and I want guys going full-speed and competing against each other to the whistle. But things after the whistle, or hitting a player when he’s in a vulnerable position, shoving a guy after a whistle, grabbing a hold of the ball carrier – that we don’t need to do that.”
Ryan spent the entire offseason preaching about team-building and locker room unity following last season’s well-publicized rift. And when tempers flared during training camp on back-to-back days during training camp, the Jets coach addressed the in-fighting in a rather unconventional way.
“Understand, we want to be a physical football team, and we want to go all the way to the whistle, but we don’t need to do the other things after plays and all that. And especially against our own guys,” Ryan said, in reference to Friday’s practice. “So I just wanted to make sure. I reminded them of that. Understand, this team, we’re going to be a team. Cause sometimes if it gets too chippy you’ll actually drive a wedge between your team sometimes. And certainly I don’t want that and will not have that. I won’t tolerate that.”
The head coach had a different message for his players when practice ended.
Ryan said he challenged his guys to ‘get with your coaches’ to ensure that mental mistakes and communication issues don’t carry over from the practice field into a live game.
“Don’t go home without knowing the answer,” he said. “…For a Friday where we call ‘Perfect Friday,’ it certainly wasn’t perfect.”