Rex Ryan confessed to one "poor decision" Thursday, which was bringing that morning’s OTA practice into the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center fieldhouse when the rain had stopped and he could have worked his team outdoors.
But the fieldhouse is good for many things, and one of them was to act as an echo chamber, the better to bounce the taunts of linebacker Bart Scott around to everyone else’s ears.
But Scott — overheard once even seeming to needle punter Eric Wilbur from the sideline during a special teams period — insisted that "Everything I do is for a reason."
"It takes tremendous energy and cardio to talk and practice at the same time," Scott said in the locker room after the practice. "I enjoy talking because it forces me not to be able to breathe, so it helps me get in shape faster."
It also gets his teammates into a certain condition as well.
"It’s awesome," quarterback Kellen Clemens said. "All it does is up the intensity. It’s fun being out there competing against your boys, and a little bit of trash talk here and there just makes it that much more enjoyable. It’s never personal with Bart or with anybody else. It just keeps it light."
And as kicker Jay Feely informed his Twitter followers:
"That was our most enthusiastic practice yet. If you can’t handle being heckled, don’t come play for the Jets."
Which, said head coach Rex Ryan, is also a part of the method to Scott’s madness.
"You have to let everybody express themselves, as long as it’s not detrimental to the football team," Ryan said. "They’re having a good time out there. Even [Damien] Woody told me, ‘Man, I never heard somebody get on somebody so much. No cuss words, but getting on people. It’s a good thing.’ Yeah, no kidding. He’s trying to pick up everybody’s game. If he can get the offense riled up and ready go, we’re going to get everything the offense can give, whether he’s getting on the punter, whatever.
"And trust me," the coach continued, "the offense is giving it right back, the coaches give it right back. It’s a competitive thing. As soon as somebody’s chirping, you want to prove him wrong. It livens up the practice. It’s hard to have a bad practice when guys are flying around out there."
Thursday’s practice was part of the Rex equation in action. Every NFL coach seeks out ways to focus his team’s attention and optimize its output and get that winning edge.
Some of the weapons in Bill Parcells’ arsenal were the intimidation factor from the Big Tuna himself, plus an us-against-them mentality and exquisite preparation. Herm Edwards stressed "inconveniences" and personal interaction to draw out the Jets’ best. For Eric Mangini, the emphasis wasn’t on trash talk but it was on distractions such as practicing in bad weather and loud music.
Fans can argue which approach is best and how effective any of them were. But what is true is that each of those coaches used his style to get the Jets to the playoffs at least once.
Now it’s Rex’s turn and the Green & White are doing it Ryan’s way. It’s not all about smack, of course. The Jets also plan to have a ballhawking defense, a "ground and pound" offense, their usual high-quality special teams.
But as Feely tweeted, to survive practices like Thursday’s: "You have to have thick skin or earplugs."
Think of what the Jets’ opponents in the foreseeable future will need.
Tags: Bart Scott, Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini, Herm Edwards, Jay Feely, Kellen Clemens, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 32 Comments »