EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There were no fights, no big scrums and only some friendly trash-talking between the New York Giants and New York Jets.
It wasn’t the UFC style mele that both Giants coach Brian Daboll and Jets coach Robert Saleh had joked the media had shown up to see when the two clubs held a joint practice for the first time since 2005. Rather the two New York football clubs held a spirited practice at Quest Diagnostic’s Center, which could be something that becomes an annual event.
“Just a lot of respect for those guys. Treat each other like we do your own teammates,” Saleh said after the day had come to an end. “We want to make a habit out of this and not just because we’re playing each other in preseason, but we’d like to break up camp. We’re too close for it not to work. If we as a team can make it work then we can help each other a lot.”
In a town where two teams that call New York home are often viewed as bitter rivals, the Jets and the Giants rivalry had a much more hospitable atmosphere. Throughout the practice, there was competitive football, but also moments of comradery.
It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see a player in green and white dap up a Giants player or for a coach to address both teams. At the start of the morning, Daboll and Saleh brought both teams into one huddle and broke it down with a chant of “New York.”
While there was plenty of comradery between the two teams it didn’t take away from the physicality in the eyes of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
“I thought it was probably, overall, a little bit more intense,” Jones said. “I think that’s natural when you go against another team. With that being said, I thought guys did a good job practicing the right way and taking care of one another for the most part. I thought that was good.
“I think going against another team is good because the tempo does pick up a little bit and you’re going against guys you haven’t seen and against looks you haven’t seen as much.”
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The Giants and Jets will face one another on Sunday in the preseason finale at MetLife Stadium. The game is technically a Jets home game, but it is sure to draw plenty of fans from both sides. Unlike most rivalries in New York, there isn’t much edge to either side.
“I don’t know, I think you get to know a couple guys, but I wouldn’t say there’s a great – I don’t think everyone knows everyone by any means or there’s an intense rivalry where a fight is going to break out every second. I don’t think it’s anything like that. Like I said, I think it was a healthy practice atmosphere and guys took care of one another,” Jones said.