Rex credits “best in the NFL” Mangold for Jets’ offensive turnaround

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The Jets’ offense appears to be on the right track after some rough stretches this season, and Jets coach Rex Ryan credits one player for that more than any other: Center Nick Mangold.

Ryan was asked today about the offensive line looking much better now than it did earlier in the season, and he sang the praises of Mangold for getting the offense going.

“I think the big thing was getting Mangold back healthy,” Ryan said, in comments distributed by the team’s PR staff. “I think that was the biggest deal. You figure you can replace a center, but a center at that level? Mangold is the best in the league. I think we all realize that now. We all knew it anyway, but when we never had him for that stretch, obviously, we really missed him. Our entire offense, the way we’ve practiced these last couple of weeks, I don’t know want to say it’s a different offense, but the bugs are out. We’re at a high level right now. Wednesday practices are good. Thursday practices are good. Friday practices are good. I think that leads you to, obviously, play much better on Sunday.

Mangold missed the Jets’ games against the Raiders and the Ravens, and the Jets lost both of them, with the offensive line often looking out of sorts without him. The offense still isn’t the Jets’ strength, but with Mangold up front it looks competent.

And Ryan is starting to feel more confident. He joked with reporters that they soon may be hearing the brash head coach openly talking about the Super Bowl again.

“Right now, we’re fighting for our playoff lives,” Ryan said. “We have to get in the playoffs before we can talk Super Bowl, then we will.”