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Nick Mangold returns, but Rex Ryan calls practice 'sluggish'

The thrill of training camp is gone, and it was fairly obvious the Jets weren't overly excited about returning to Cortland for two more days of training camp after their Monday night loss to the Giants when they have a short week to prepare for Saturday night in Carolina. The tempo of the only full-squad workout Wednesday was low, and there were problems on the offensive line despite the return of All-Pro center Nick Mangold from a head injury.

"I was disappointed with today's practice," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "It was kind of sluggish. There were as many false starts as I've seen in a long time."

Two were committed by rookie left guard Vladimir Ducasse, including one during the 11-on-11 session at the end of practice, which most resembles game conditions. Ducasse is competing against second-year man Matt Slauson, who got into a scuffle with defensive lineman Matt Kroul midway through the workout.

Slauson started against the Giants, and Ducasse played most of the second half as they battle for the right to replace nine-time Pro Bowler Alan Faneca. "They both played pretty well," Ryan said of their work against the Giants. "It was good for Vlad to get into an NFL game and see what it's like. Slauson did pretty well. I was happy with the way he played."

Both had to work next to backup center Robert Turner, who subbed for Mangold while he sat out because of a headache that cropped up Monday morning before the game. Mangold was clubbed on the temple by Sione Pouha in practice last Wednesday and sat out last Thursday's and Friday's workouts.

Explaining the decision not to play against the Giants, Mangold said, "Something was not right Monday morning. We decided to play it safe."

Mangold said he had no idea if his condition was related to the injury last Wednesday, and he wouldn't term it a "concussion." Searching for the right description, Mangold said, "Let's call it 'foggy.' It didn't feel right…In five years of being in the NFL, I've had my share of bumps, bruises and everything in between. This time, it just didn't feel right. Obviously, I was concerned. Head injuries are a hot-button issue."

Mangold said he felt better Tuesday and felt "Mangold normal" Wednesday. He expects to line up Saturday night in Carolina. As for the situation at left guard between Slauson and Ducasse, Mangold said, "Today seemed like it was a little bit rough for both of them. We're just trying to keep them going and keep them fighting."

Here's a summary of other practice news:

Ferris Buehler's Day Off -- Several veterans who were winners of the Jet's "Iron Man" awards in a vote of their teammates were given the day off. The list included right guard Brandon Moore (a/k/a "Meat"), who was honored with a shrine recognizing his first healthy scratch from practice in nine years in the NFL. Mangold said this was declared "National 'Meat' Day." Others who got a pass included ILB Bart Scott, DT Mike DeVito and TE Matt Mulligan.

Ryan on the Giants loss -- "After watching film, it was what we thought it was. The first-team guys looked dominant, and the backups have a long ways to go. The backups will get the majority of the snaps Saturday night. Skill is one thing, but, it was intensity. When we came out for the second half, we were flat." Ryan explained that RT Damien Woody was beaten for a sack by Giants rookie DE Jason Pierre-Paul because of a miscommunication, but he added, "Give the kid credit for making the play."

Practice odds and ends -- Punter Steve Weatherford kicked a field goal at the end of practice as part of the two-minute drill. Ryan said placekicker Nick Folk was being rested for Wednesday afternoon's special teams-only practice when he must make several kickoffs….Ryan said veteran OLB Jason Taylor is better than he expected against the run as well as being a top-flight pass rusher…Although QB Kellen Clemens has dropped to third string behind veteran Mark Brunell, Ryan used him first off the bench against the Giants and liked what he saw.

Injuries -- ILBs Brashton Satele (ankle) and Joshua Mauga (headache) were listed as out. Practicing on a limited basis were FB Jason Davis (ankle), FB John Conner (knee), LB Lance Laury (lower lip stitches) and S Donovan Warren (possible concussion).
 

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