Building chemistry in the locker room is a priority for all NFL teams. Though some fans may believe the process starts during training camp, it begins well before and in a room loaded with racks, barbells and treadmills. For the 2018-19 New York Jets, that process began on April 16th – the first day of offseason workouts.
When the players return each spring to 1 Jets Drive for the beginning of workouts, head strength and conditioning coach Justus Galac is typically the first face they see. Galac's goal each offseason is not only to get the Jets in shape to perform on the field, but also to help establish the competitiveness and camaraderie that all teams need to be successful. The Jets' seventh-year strength coach achieves this objective by fostering healthy competition with his workouts.
"This year, we had them draft their own teams. So, each team might consist of every position on the field. It doesn't matter whether you are offense or defense," he said. "It really gets everybody to know each other, know how each other works and really get the camaraderie of our team together."
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This method also breeds another intended lesson: accountability. Prior to the players returning for workouts, Galac, along with head coach Todd Bowles, decided that this would be the message that they would stress to the team. As a result, Galac paid homage to Bowles' mentor Bill Parcells with a slogan which can now be found on the backs of the players' workout gear – Blame Nobody, Expect Nothing, Do Something.
"We want the players to hold each other accountable for their actions," Galac said. "Whether it is a play on the field or whether they don't do their set right, everybody should be held accountable. Don't worry about the outside. Don't worry about what happened in the past or future. Worry about the guys in this room."
Several players stood out this offseason in upholding the team's core message. Galac, who praised a number of veterans including Josh McCown, Brian Winters, Jamal Adams and Teddy Bridgewater, was encouraged by the entire group that featured a "Big Cat" reaching for new heights.
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"Leonard Williams really stepped up a lot this year as a leader, even more than I've seen before. Brian Winters is another guy I've seen take huge steps," said Galac. "We have so many guys on the team that I think are great examples of how to do things right. We have great leadership and I think it can only get better with time."
With the players now gone for the summer, Galac says that he and his staff are very excited for the start of training camp at the end of the month. He is proud of the strides the players have made already, both physically and mentally, and have prepared themselves well for the rigors ahead.
"When I think about my time here as a Jets, I think this is one of the best groups we've had in terms of coming together and how they compete and embrace it," he said.