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Nick Mangold: Mark Sanchez gives Jets the best chance to win

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Mark Sanchez still garners support from at least one teammate. (USATSI)
Mark Sanchez still garners support from at least one teammate. (USATSI)

Mark Sanchez's time in New York the past few years has been marked by inconsistent play, anonymous rips from his teammates, a ridiculous contract that helped lead to the dismissal of general manager Mike Tannenbaum and a continuation of the discussion about whether Tim Tebow is an NFL starting quarterback and/or a better choice than Sanchez.

In other words, Sanchez's last few seasons with the Jets have been disappointing.

But at least one of his teammates believes in Sanchez's abilities, and he doesn't mind putting his name to his quotes. In fact, center Nick Mangold said he thinks the majority of the locker room wants to see Sanchez under center in 2013.

“I believe so,” he told the NY Post. “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 isn't the first time that Mangold has supported Sanchez in the public forum, and when the only other quarterback options are an ancient Mark Brunell, Kellen Clemens or Tebow, it's not difficult to believe Sanchez is your best choice. But Geno Smith, drafted in the second round by the Jets, is expected to give Sanchez a run for the starting job.

And still Mangold believes in Sanchez.

“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 [new 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.”

That has been the thought the past couple of seasons, especially since Rex Ryan intimated that he might bench Sanchez and use Brunell or Tebow instead. It's obviously unclear if Smith is good enough at this point to really push Sanchez, but it seems to be a decent possibility.

“I thought [Smith] did pretty well, but there are rookie growing pains,” Mangold told the NY Daily News. “You've got to learn a whole new system. You're coming from college, where you have all of your buddies from the past four or five years, who all know each other. Now all of a sudden you're coming to a huddle, you're telling guys who are 30 years old, couple of kids, a mortgage, you're telling them what to do. It's a big transition … He's not there yet, obviously. But I think he does have the opportunity to be pretty good this year.”

But here's where Sanchez might find trouble, even if he thinks he's in an “awesome situation.” If Ryan thinks his job is in danger after this season -- and there's no reason to think that's an incorrect assumption -- it would make sense for him to sit Sanchez down and see if Smith can help his team win.

Because if Sanchez continues to flop at quarterback, neither Ryan nor Sanchez will likely be members of that organization for much longer -- no matter what Mangold thinks.

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