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Mangold: Jets want Sanchez to start

Kidsday interview: Nick Mangold

Kidsday interview: Nick Mangold

Quarterback controversy on the Jets? Not as far as Nick Mangold is concerned.

The Jets’ veteran center said at a promotional appearance yesterday in New York that Mark Sanchez is the clear favorite in the Jets’ locker room to win the job. Sanchez is battling rookie Geno Smith in what the Jets have termed an “open competition” for the No. 1 spot.

“I haven’t walked around with a pen and paper and taken a poll, but from the feeling I get, the locker room wants to win,” Mangold said in an interview with the New York Post. “Whoever gives us the best chance to do that, we want out there — and at this point, Mark gives us that best chance.”

Mangold, a long-time supporter of Sanchez, believes there’s still plenty of good days ahead for the embattled quarterback.

“I think Mark is a fantastic quarterback for us, and I think he can do some good things,” Mangold said. “He showed some good flashes in the spring, getting [offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s] system down and commanding the offense the way that he should be. We’ll see how training camp plays out, but either way, the competition will make him a better player.”

Mangold did have some positive words for Smith, saying he didn’t detect a diva attitude that some executives around the NFL had lamented in the days leading up to the draft.

“He’s not a diva,” Mangold said. “I don’t see the diva. I don’t get where that came from. Maybe it was somebody with sour grapes who didn’t get to pick him and is spreading some bad stuff out there. But he’s been great for us.

“He can be a good player for us,” Mangold said. “He’s a hard worker, and he’s asking questions. He’s taking the coaching and taking the advice to heart, and I think he’s doing some good things.”


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