Last week, Jets coach Herman Edwards and General Manager Terry Bradway took a walk around Giants Stadium, like wide-eyed tourists getting a peek at the inner sanctum for the first time. This, they were told, is the New York Jets' locker room. This is how you get to the tunnel. This is where you stand.
Everyone who follows the Jets could use a guided tour these days. After barely missing the playoffs last year and after an off-season of remarkable, and remarkably swift, change, the Jets gathered for the start of training camp Saturday and begin practices Monday.
When Al Groh took over at the start of last season, players spoke of how comfortable they felt because they had known Groh for years, everything else was remaining the same and, besides, Bill Parcells was still in the building. This off-season, the Jets did not merely toss off the security blanket, they torched it.
Parcells is ensconced in retirement. Groh, who alienated some players immediately with a grueling training camp, is in Charlottesville, Va., after a shocking resignation that set off a franchise makeover so profound that the city's finest plastic surgeons would be impressed. This was a whole-body transformation accomplished with what appears to be minimal scarring.
Need an example? The Jets are going to play host to a family night practice on Wednesday, and Edwards will wear a microphone so the crowd can hear him. It is safe to say that Parcells, who ruled his fiefdom with a potent combination of intimidation and paranoia, would never have allowed that openness. And there will probably be no gripes that this camp is too physical. Edwards does not believe in letting players take one another to the ground while practicing tackling, preferring to teach technique without risking injury. Do not mistake that for an absence of toughness, though. Players will already be in full pads for both practices Monday.
"You have to establish chemistry and the type of team we'll be," Edwards said.