Many fans follow NFL training camps in eager anticipation of seeing or reading about dust-ups during practice. In the New York Giants' first padded practice on Tuesday, the sideshow arrived early when a largescale fight broke out which QB Daniel Jones apparently got swept up in, ending up in the bottom of the pile.
While many will deem such altercations as being part and parcel of the intense physical process of camp, or at the very least, an unpleasant inevitability, Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio sees it differently. Fangio won't accept such distractions on his watch.
On Tuesday the boss made that crystal-clear to his own troops that he wanted nothing to interfere with the winning focus, and that includes fighting.
“We’ve emphasized it. I spoke to them about it before practice and right after the stretch,” Fangio said. “Everything we do, we want to with one thing in mind—that’s to win football games.”
Keeping that focus will get increasingly difficult now that the players are wearing pads and the quest for final roster spots intensifies. Certain coaches like the element of internal friction and the eventuality of a little wrestling here and there, but Fangio’s belief is that it doesn’t help his team prepare for the new season.
“All these extracurricular [things] doesn’t help you win games. It’s as simple as that,” Fangio said. "Now, are we going to have every practice be as clean as it was today? Probably not. We want an efficient, well-run practice to where everybody is focused on getting better and winning football games.”
Fangio seems determined to put out a clear mission statement that sets levels of professionalism and respect for each other moving forward. Letting the trash talk breathe, while not letting it cross the line into friendly fire but it’s one the 62-year-old veteran coach is well versed in.
“There are different types of fights, too," Fangio said. "There are pushing matches then there’s what I heard [happened] at some other places.”
Hard-hitting safety Kareem Jackson can be a loose cannon who likes to push the envelope once the pads are strapped on. Tuesday, Fangio granted him a veteran rest day, but Jackson will be thirsty for action when practice resumes on Wednesday, so perhaps the coach's net sermon might well require a quick refresher.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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