HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - The change is dizzying, alarming even. And it's everywhere. And it's only one day after May Day.
"I'm not going to tell you everything we're going to try to do," coach Herman Edwards said Saturday. "I don't have enough time."
Many of the changes have been apparent this weekend at the Jets' full-squad minicamp. The wraps won't come off others until training camp or the regular season. But Edwards could hang "Pardon Our Appearance" signs on every doorway.
• One of the first signs of the new landscape is the drill the defensive players are doing on that landscape - hitting the dirt, then leaping up and running to their appointed gaps.
Modified grass drills. Nothing new about that in football. But as one longtime Jets' observer said, "I don't remember the last time we did down-and-ups here."
New coordinator Donnie Henderson's terse explanation: "We're generating tempo. I'm just getting their attention right now."
• Other eye-openers: No. 94, John Abraham, standing up, moving around, dropping in coverage. In other words, being a linebacker as promised, as well as a defensive end. Same for No. 99, Bryan Thomas.
"And," Henderson said, "I haven't even created the package for 92 yet." That's Shaun Ellis, the other defensive end starter.
• The offense isn't leaving all the innovation to the defense. The emphasis is on mixing plays, personnel, and formations (such as two-TE alignments) better, striking downfield more unexpectedly, and using quick huddles and no-huddles more.
"Our advantage is playing at a higher tempo, playing faster than our opponents expect us to play," said Chad Pennington, wearing a no-touch red practice jersey - another wrinkle that isn't new to football but is to Jets' quarterbacks. "Secondly, it's on having multiplicity, doing a lot of things well."
• Off the field, Edwards and general manager Terry Bradway are taking the Jets from one of the most open teams in the NFL to one of the most closed.
Edwards, harder-edged than usual, is limiting his media exposure, and beat reporters who could watch every minute of every practice in his first three years as coach now will be allowed in for only the first 15 minutes of regular-season practices.
Normally, this is not a subject of fan concern, but the Jets have turned it into a competitive issue. Team officials feel reporting on their practices and injuries is far more extensive than it is for the other three AFC East teams, all of whose practices are limited.
Add in all the new bodies at the minicamp, and it's clear this is not your father's Jets, or even your older brother's. Several phrases come to mind to capture the mood: Change is good, and sometimes you have to destroy the village to save it.
But also, how much change is too much? For instance, are Henderson's plans to mix 4-3, 3-4, 50 (two-gapping 3-4), and 46 fronts, man-to-man coverage, and blitzing from all angles just too much for a defense that, with still a number of holdovers, needed to have Ted Cottrell's schemes simplified in midseason three straight years? Edwards is intent on finding out. "It's for the betterment of the football team," he said. "That's what it's all about."
"Herm's done a great job the last three years evaluating our team," Pennington said. "In the fourth year, he's all business now. He's let guys work their way through and feel good about what they're doing, but now there's no excuses, no explanations."
It seems this has become the new cliche' for the Jets this year, change for the better. Everything discussed is about the changes the Jets have made this offseason for the better, which is usually doesn't happen. I'm excited as the next person about the new Jets but I just hope they don't end up playing like the old ones.