In fact, according to quarterback Mark Sanchez, “It’s huge.”
Mangold made his first start since Week 2 a week and a half ago in a loss to the New England Patriots, and Mangold, who is still recovering from a high ankle sprain, started again in the Jets' Monday night victory over the Miami Dolphins.
“That’s a tough guy,” Sanchez told reporters Monday. “He’s working and he’s taking the reps in practice. A lot of guys would just sit out practice and try to make it work Sunday, but he knows how important it is for the timing and stuff.
“… I can’t say enough about him. So I’m just proud of his effort all week. That guy’s in there, that guy’s at the facility — practically sleeps there.”
During his time away from the field, Mangold’s absence was especially felt in the Jets’ embarrassing offensive showing against the Baltimore Ravens Week 4 when Sanchez was strip-sacked twice, both for touchdowns. With Colin Baxter filling in for Mangold, Sanchez was hit on a plethora of dropbacks and looked lost, forcing throws early.
The Jets also averaged only two yards a rush. Sanchez was sacked four times the week before in a loss to the Oakland Raiders.
The offensive line upped its level of play against the Patriots and Dolphins, however, opening up holes for running back Shonn Greene and giving Sanchez and his receivers enough time to see plays fully develop.
The improvement was a direct result of Mangold’s presence, as he plays the role of a second quarterback at the line of scrimmage in reading what’s coming from the defense and communicating it to the rest of the line.
“He’s a calming presence I think, especially at the line of scrimmage,” Sanchez said.
Not to mention, he’s a really, really good blocker. Sanchez added that Mangold is also good for a laugh on the field.
“He’s not a vocal guy, but he keeps things light when we need to,” Sanchez said. “During timeouts and stuff we have a good time. It’s funny, just to look at him and see that beard coming through his facemask and all that.”
With Mangold's impact on the Jets' offense, it's no wonder Sanchez prefers that beard remain on the field.
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