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New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.

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Goal was to add athleticism to O-line, says Rex

Jets center Nick Mangold thinks the offensive line

Jets center Nick Mangold thinks the offensive line has a great foundation to carry them through the season. Videojournalist: Mario Gonzalez (Aug. 4, 2011)

Around this time last year, Rex Ryan was pulling Quinton Coples off the practice field for fear of his first-round rookie getting hurt on account of the uncoordinated offensive linemen at rookie minicamp.

But now Ryan likes what he sees from his O-line.

“It looks way better than it has the last couple of years,” the coach said with a laugh, referring to his comment last year that he wouldn’t want his son playing quarterback in the second-half of a preseason game. “…But as a unit, this clearly looks a lot different. …It’s a good-looking group. There’s no doubt. And there’s some players in that group. So when you line up there and that’s your second offensive line, that looks pretty impressive to me.”

Ryan said there was a concerted effort on the part of the Jets to get more athletic on the offensive line. He also said new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is putting in more perimeter runs to capitalize on the unit’s improved speed.

During his post-practice press conference Saturday, Ryan highlighted the play of former Clemson center Dalton Freeman, as well as O-line draft picks Brian Winters (third round), Oday Aboushi (fifth round) and William Campbell (sixth round).

The coach said it’s obvious “what you’re going to get with the big Kent State kid” – aka, Winters, “a solid guy that’s going to look a lot better when we get the pads on and he’s able to throw people down. He’s an impressive guy.” Aboushi “looks pretty good” too, said Ryan, who added that the former UVA lineman will be a swing tackle. But “the Campbell kid,” he said, “is the one who really intrigues me.”

“Here’s a guy with that defensive background, and yet we’re moving him to offense,” Ryan said of the former Michigan defensive tackle. “…And I’m surprised he’s not making mistakes. He just seems like he’s been doing it his whole life. So that’s been impressive. I see that (No.) 65. Hopefully he can have half the success that Brandon Moore had at that position. I think we’d all sign up for that.” 

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