New York Jets center Nick Mangold, long a supporter of quarterback Mark Sanchez, still believes that Mark Sanchez is the best option to start at quarterback for the Jets in 2013. Nick Mangold went as far to say that the rest of the players on the team are with him, making Mark Sanchez the favorite to start because he is the best chance for the team to win. Some may argue that given some of the hideous numbers easily dug up from the past two seasons. With the only other serious competitor for the job being second round selection Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez could win the starting job by default once again this year.
Nick Mangold has anchored the New York Jets offensive line since he entered the league in 2006. The Jets selected Nick Mangold in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft as a replacement for Kevin Mawae. Those weren't easy shoes to fill, but Mangold has become the most outstanding player on the Jets offense, consistently in the conversation when talking about the best centers in the NFL, and is a leader for the franchise. That gives him the right to speak out about potential controversies, especially at quarterback. Nick Mangold has firmly thrown his support behind incumbent start Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
Directly contradicting an earlier report by Mike Freeman of CBS that "80 to 90 percent" of Jets players wanted to move on from Mark Sanchez, Nick Mangold told Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post that Sanchez is still the favored choice at quarterback for Jets players:
“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.”
This holds much more weight than the previous report that the Jets locker room wanted Mark Sanchez on the sideline instead of under center. First, as mentioned before, this is an established leader, a cornerstone of the franchise, openly declaring that Mark Sanchez gives the team the best chance to win. Second, Nick Mangold actually put his name to the quote. As evidenced by the earlier report by Mike Freeman and multiple stories reported by Manish Mehta with anonymous quotes, that doesn't always happen with the Jets.
This is far from a surprise. As horrid as the Jets have been offensively with Mark Sanchez at quarterback, his only serious competition is Geno Smith, a rookie drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. While Geno Smith has some physical tools, it's known that he has plenty to work on before he's ready to start in the NFL. Everything from pre-snap reads, to post-snap reads, to working through a progression and even delivering often-wordy NFL play calls with confidence in the huddle still needs to be improved upon.
Expect Mark Sanchez at quarterback in 2013 for the New York Jets. Geno Smith will be brought along slowly, and next offseason there might be a real battle for the starting job if Mark Sanchez doesn't improve this season. More than putting stock in Mark Sanchez, this is believing in Nick Mangold's assessment of the situation.