Training camp fights happen in every training camp. But the reactions to them can be more instructive than any of the punches thrown.
After a melee broke out in Jets practice this morning, quarterback Mark Sanchez stood up and said the team has to be smarter.
“Tempers flare, that stuff happens,” Sanchez said, via Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger. “There’s no excuse for it. There’s no throwing a ball at a teammate. There’s no shoving a guy out of bounds into the signs.
“One, it doesn’t look good. And two, it sends the wrong message to our team. We want to take care of our guys.”
Sanchez said he’d let coach Rex Ryan say more, but pointed out: “I don’t see how that makes us any better.”
He also mentioned that throwing a ball at an opponent in a game is a 15-yard penalty (at least, if the replacement refs are paying attention), saying “I don’t know if that’s a great habit to get into.”
In a subtle way, taking control of the situation like he did speaks volumes about the job Sanchez is trying to do.
While Tim Tebow has generated all the attention, the Jets have made sure to say Sanchez was still the guy. Stepping up the way he did in the aftermath of what’s frankly a routine camp event shows he’s taking seriously the challenge of leading this dysfunctional bunch.
Honestly, Tebow’s limitations as a passer will do more to secure Sanchez’s spot than any speech he can give. But showing leadership (the not-so-subtle knock on Sanchez when people compare him to Tebow) is only going to help him down the line.