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O-line changes just as key as new QB

Undated file photo of Nick Mangold.

Undated file photo of Nick Mangold. Credit: Getty Images

For seven years, Nick Mangold always had Brandon Moore by his side. Now, the spaces on either side of Mangold will be filled with different people.

While much is being made of the five-person quarterback competition headlined by Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and David Garrard, Mangold said Thursday that the QB uncertainty isn’t as big of a deal for him.

“I approach (this season) as, potentially two new guards next to me,” the Jets center said. “That’s going to be a bigger influence than who’s behind me. So we have a lot of work to do…(New offensive line) Coach (Mike) Devlin’s done a good job of trying to make a seamless transition to another new offense.”

Continuity once was a hallmark of the Jets’ offensive line. Save for Austin Howard -- who replaced right tackle Wayne Hunter during the 2012 preseason – Mangold, Moore, Matt Slauson and D’Brickashaw Ferguson were fixtures on the line over the past three seasons. But thanks to the free-agent departures of both Moore (unsigned) and Slauson (Bears), the Jets O-line will look vastly different in 2013.

The Jets now have 11 offensive linemen on their roster – including free-agent signees Willie Colon (guard/tackle) and Stephen Peterman (guard), plus draft picks Brian Winters (guard), Oday Aboushi (left tackle) and William Campbell (a defensive tackle-turned-NFL guard).

“The biggest thing is going to be communication, getting a feel,” Mangold said. “I played next to Brandon Moore for seven years, so you kind of get a comfortability with a guy. So you have to build that. It takes time. You don’t just come out of the gate with that, so that’s going to be a big emphasis this spring – a long with learning the playbook.”

There’s much work to be done this offseason, particularly on offense. But there is a bright side to the roster shakeup, Mangold said: “The guys that we brought in, I think, are young and hungry. And when you have that, you can do good things.”


Mangold also touched upon other topics during his locker room session, including Mark Sanchez’s make-or-break season, Darrelle Revis’ departure and the Tebow effect in 2012.

(on the difference in Mark Sanchez this season): “I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something different. Like there’s a maturity-level difference. Something about the way he’s going about his work and the way he’s taken to Marty’s system. So I’m hoping for big things cause that’ll help all of us.

"…Mark’s got that resilient fighter in him and hopefully, with the opportunities that are here, the competition and everything, he makes the most of it. …The best left guard needs to be out there. The best right guard, the best right tackle, the best center. I hope that’s me. You never know. You can always find somebody. It’s part of the competition and part of the way this team needs to be built.”

(on new QB David Garrard): “Dave’s a great guy. He’s been working hard, which is great to see. ..He’s got that veteran presence. …He seems to be making the most of the opportunity.”

(when was it clear things weren’t working with Tebow last season?): “I think there was a lot of things that weren’t working. Not just Tim-specific. We didn’t run the ball very well, we didn’t throw the ball very well. We did some good things, but we did a lot more bad things than good.”

(on Revis’ absence in the locker room): “It’s an adjustment for me. Reve and I are pretty good friends so it was weird coming in the next day and him not being here. But you know, that’s part of the business. It’s nothing you can control, so I wish him all the best. But we’ve got things to worry about here.” 

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