Rex Ryan's First Training Camp Providing a Sense of Deja Vu

The more things change, they more they repeat themselves

The fight between Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez wasn't the only one to gain notice at Jets camp in upstate Cortland on Monday. Three other scraps broke out during drills between the offense and defense during a chippy workout. That's not unusual for training camp, but since this Jets offseason has been all about the return of aggressive, passionate football it's getting a lot of notice.

Rex Ryan's hiring is the impetus for all the talk about a new style of football, and, after practice, Ryan was happy with what he saw.

"There is pride in that defense and pride in the offense. What you are going to see is that you have to have pride in the whole team. So, when you play an opponent, you’re going to see a unified football team. I think that is what we are shooting for. We want to be physical.  We want to play tough, hard-nose football. I think we are working to that."

A lot of Jets fans are probably happy with that kind of news out of practice as well. They've been happy with everything coming from Ryan since he got the job, mostly because every time you see or hear from Ryan it is clear that Eric Mangini has left the building.

Mangini was circumspect, dispassionate and measured. Ryan is verbose, extreme and oozes his love of football from every pore. Mangini treated players with disdain, Ryan loves them like sons. Mangini played everything close to the vest, Ryan is a gambler in the mold of his father Buddy.  

If all of this sounds familiar, it's because it's exactly what happened when Mangini took over from Herman Edwards. Edwards' teams were as undisciplined as his press conferences were entertaining, and Mangini's attention to detail and sterner style were seen as welcome changes that would serve the Jets well in the future. While Ryan comes with the imprimateur of his father, Mangini came with the stamp of Belichick.

There are times, this is one of them, when the Jets seem like nothing more than an unstable republic searching desperately for governmental stability. A democratic election follows a military coup which leads to rioting in the streets and another election which will, inevitably, lead to another coup. Each change brings with it the promise of a better, less corrupt tomorrow but they all end with the same anger and recriminations. The only difference with the Jets is that none of the coaches has ever worn a military uniform to work.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? The song says we won't get fooled again, but it's going to be a while before we know for sure. \

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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