Friday, December 2, 2011

Slauson firmly settled in on Jets' offensive line

By Nick St. Denis

New York Jets left guard Matt Slauson doesn't get a lot publicity, and that's usually a good thing for offensive linemen.

As a second-year player last year, Slauson won a training camp battle for the starting job in replacing the departed Alan Faneca. While Slauson struggled in the 2010 opener against the Baltimore Ravens, he's improved steadily since.

Now past the midway point of his third NFL season and second year as a starter, Slauson fits right in between standouts left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold.

"I just see a guy that you just assume he's been playing for years and years," Jets coach Rex Ryan told the media Friday when asked about what he's seen from Slauson this season. "He's always been a big, strong tough guy, and he brings that to the table each week. But he's more than that, he now recognizes everything. He just fits in with those guys."

Slauson (Nebraska) was picked in the sixth round of the 2009 draft, the same year quarterback Mark Sanchez and running back Shonn Greene were selected.

"That was a pretty good (draft) group right there, three starters," Ryan said.

The Jets' offensive line has picked up its play of the past few weeks and logged what Ryan said was its best outing of the season last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

New York (6-5) travels to Washington Sunday to face the Redskins (4-7).

Follow Nick @NickStDenis