First Jets-Giants workout in 17 years goes off without a hitch
Where have you been, Jeremy Shockey?
The Jets and Giants reunited for their first joint practice in 17 years on Thursday and it was uneventful. There were no punches thrown, no face masks grabbed, not even a bit of a shove.
“I know you all came looking for a fight,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh joked to the media after the end of the 90-minute practice in East Rutherford, NJ.
Saleh and Giants head coach Brian Daboll stressed to their teams that they needed to show respect to the other team and not let it turn into a fight, like some joint workouts did in the league this summer. Before the start of the team periods, the coaches brought the two teams together and gave them the message again.
“It was just a lot of respect for those guys,” Saleh said. “Treat each other like you treat your own teammates. Competing at the whistle, nothing cheap. We don’t need fights or anything. … I have a lot of respect for Daboll and we want to make it a habit, not just because we face each other in pre-season. We would like to break camp. We’re too close for it not to work. If, as a team, we can make it work, we can both help each other a lot.
Both Saleh and Daboll said they would like to make it an annual thing. The Jets and Giants last participated in joint training in 2005, when the Jets were coached by Herm Edwards and the Giants by Tom Coughlin. That practice, in Albany, ended in a series of fights, including one with Shockey, then the Giants tight end.
After that day, the Jets and Giants stopped training together. It’s usually more of an ownership rivalry, with the teams sharing buildings in the Meadowlands since 1984. It’s bubbled up between the teams at times, like in 2011 when Rex Ryan talked trash before the Jets lost the Christmas Eve against the Giants. It was a Jets home game, and Giants players tore down the curtains that covered their championship murals in the tunnel at MetLife Stadium.
Saleh and Daboll made it clear on Thursday that they weren’t interested in playing off the rivalry.
“It’s nice to have a team here across the road to play against,” said Daboll, who once served as an assistant coach for the Jets. “But again, you have to do it the right way, I think. Respect each other, work hard together to improve, and play football.
“Not interested in going to see a UFC or boxing matches or anything like that, although I like both,” he added with a laugh. “Just good competitive football.”
For the Jets, the most valuable part of the experience was their offense against Giants coordinator Wink Martindale’s defense. The Jets offense has been up against Saleh’s defense for most of the summer and Martindale’s defense features a lot more looks and blitzes.
“We had nothing planned. It was more just about running our business,” Saleh said. “We’re not planning the Giants game. We are still in camp mode. For the most part, I think they did a good job. They have an exotic pressure system. It wasn’t so much about protection as it was about the course, just the precision of what we’re trying to do.
Jets quarterback Joe Flacco had some good times and some shaky ones against the Giants defense. He threw two touchdown passes and was intercepted once in the red zone.
“It’s good because it puts you in a bit of a different mindset,” Flacco said of a different defense. “It teaches you, you know, to just go and play football. Like today they like to walk and ramble a lot and you have to identify everyone. If they slow you down a bit and start thinking and not playing football, then they have a small win right there. You just learn a little about yourself and how to attack this stuff. It’s a good reminder that we just play football. We don’t have to be rocket scientists and be perfect with everything.