Mangold Hits Camp with Right Amount of Smooth

Asked about the essentials for training camp, Jets center Nick Mangold answered quickly.

"Your pillow. That's number one," he said. "And nail clippers.:

While it is not exactly the reply you would expect from an NFL player on first arriving at camp, it is exactly the kind of response many have come to expect from the All-Pro center.

A feeling of ease surrounded him, with just the right amount of confidence sprinkled in. He seemed laid back, a backwards hat sitting atop his mane of blond hair, a style that has become a mainstay for the Ohio State product.

He greeted the swarm of media with a good-natured grin, clearly accustomed to the realities of being one of the most consistent players on his team. This will be the eighth training camp for Mangold, every one of them in a New York Jets uniform. He has started all but two games since the Jets drafted him in 2006 to replace another All-Pro center, Kevin Mawae.

Not every player can handle the pressure of playing in New York as smoothly. But the Jets picked a winner in Mangold, who up to this point has been the epitome of consistency and the glue that has held together an offensive line that at one time helped create the best running game in the NFL.

Not much has changed since Mangold was drafted, at least not in terms of his attitude. Despite all of his success, Mangold remains humble, and anxious to begin another training camp where he can once again anchor an offensive line that includes fellow 2006 first-round pick D'Brickashaw Ferguson at left tackle.

When asked about last year's training camp with Tim Tebow and so-called "TebowMania" Mangold flashed a big grin under the cover of wispy golden facial hair and wondered about the possibility of his own media and fan frenzy, which he dubbed "MangoldMania."

It was not all smiles as he was questioned about projections that the Jets would not make much noise in the AFC East this year.

"I don't really pay attention to projections," he said. "Projections don't mean squat come December.

"We have a great group of guys. It's a new season, a new beginning. We all start 0-0 and we need to take advantage of that and it starts here in training camp, up here in Cortland, and we're going to put the work in that needs to be done."

In the coming weeks the majority of questions will come in relation to the ongoing quarterback competition between fifth-year starter Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith. When asked about his role in the competition, he was unfazed.

"I'm going to snap them the ball," he said, "and make sure it's there so they can do their thing."

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