Nick Mangold: ‘Something Different About Having A Former Player As Head Coach’

Perhaps you thought that pretty much every non-Patriot in the NFL wanted Tom Brady’s four-game suspension to be upheld, but Nick Mangold wasn’t going to lose much sleep either way.

“I’m glad that the union was able to do their due diligence and get the thing figured out, especially before the start of the season,” the Jets center said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I think we’ve been talking about it long enough, and it’s time for some real football.”

That’s a fair stance from Mangold. It’s also commendable. After all, the Patriots have won the AFC East 11 of the last 12 years, including six straight, so it’s New England’s division until somebody proves otherwise.

Wouldn’t Brady missing four games have helped the Jets?

“It wasn’t going to matter either way,” Mangold said. “Our (first) game (with them) isn’t until (Week 7), so for us, it didn’t mater. The more important task is Cleveland coming up here.”

Indeed, the Jets open at home against Cleveland on Sept. 13. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start in place of Geno Smith, who is still recovering from jaw surgery following an altercation with former teammate IK Enemkpali.

Mangold thought Smith was ready to take the next step this season.

“Yeah, he was coming along,” Mangold said. “It was obviously a very unfortunate incident that no one has ever experienced and probably never will again, but I think he was making progress. I would have really liked to have been able to see him out in a real game situation because he was doing well in practice making the right calls and the right reads and everything. So definitely unfortunate, but we’re moving on. I think we’re very fortunate with the fact that Fitz has had experience not only in the league and being around a couple different things, but I think the bigger thing in that is he has experience with the coordinator, Chan Gailey. I think if we had a different back-up in, it would have taken longer to get up to speed with him in communication and everything. But since he has that familiarity with Chan’s offense, I think that’s helped us with the transition.”

Brandon Tierney, a hardcore Jets fan, asked Mangold the same questions he asked listeners immediately following the Smith/Enemkpali incident: Where the heck was everyone else? Why didn’t they come to Smith’s defense?

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Mangold said. “Obviously it’s in the past. It’s now over four weeks ago, so we’re moving forward. We got more focus on the Browns (than) rehashing the old stuff.”

The typically straightforward Mangold was a little more chatty when discussing the difference between former head coach Rex Ryan and current head coach Todd Bowles. Having been in the NFL for a decade, Mangold has played for a fair number of coaches – whether it’s position guys, coordinators or head honchos.

Bowles, however, is the first former NFL-player-turned-head-coach for whom Mangold has played.

“You can tell that there’s something different,” Mangold said. “I don’t know if it’s an understanding of what you’re going through or what it takes to get to where you are, but there’s just something a little different about having a former player as your head coach. He definitely has an air that he’s not going to say much, but when he does, you’re paying attention and you’re listening.”

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