Center Says Mark Sanchez Gives Team Best Chance To Win

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mark Sanchez, locked in a quarterback competition with rookie Geno Smith, has center Nick Mangold in his corner.

And Mangold thinks the rest of the Jets are with him.

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“I believe so,” Mangold told the New York Post on Wednesday. “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. Whoever gives us the best chance to do that, we want out there — and at this point, Mark gives us that best chance.”

Mangold has been around for Sanchez’s entire four-year tenure with the team: back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship game, then two straight sub-par, drama-filled seasons. The veteran likes what he’s seen from Sanchez this offseason as the quarterback learns the system of new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

“I think Mark is a fantastic quarterback for us, and I think he can do some good things,” Mangold told the paper. “He showed some good flashes in the spring, getting (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.”

Sanchez threw for 2,883 yards on a 54.3 completion percentage in 2012. He had 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. It was his worst statistical season since his rookie year, only without the playoff run.

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The Jets drafted Smith out of West Virginia in the second round of this year’s draft. Mangold defended the young quarterback against the “diva” label that has followed him to the pros. As for his work on the field? Let’s just say the learning curve is steep in the NFL.

“Mark had a little bit better idea of the ideas and of seeing things, which are things Geno is going to have to work his butt off on,” said Mangold.

He added: “He can be a good player for us. … 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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