Jets' Mangold sidelined against Raiders
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP)
Nick Mangold is staying home and sitting this one out.
''He's just not ready,'' coach Rex Ryan said Friday. ''It's as simple as that. He's doing really well, but a high ankle sprain going against these guys, traveling across the country, it's not in his best interest.''
Mangold didn't practice all week after injuring his right ankle in the first quarter of the Jets' 32-3 victory over Jacksonville last Sunday. He had just made a solid block on a 7-yard run by Shonn Greene when he went down as the Jaguars' Daryl Smith rolled into his leg.
Mangold had started in 82 straight games since being drafted in the first round in 2006. It will be the first time someone other than Mangold has started at center for the Jets since Pete Kendall in the last 10 games of the 2005 season.
''It's going to be tough,'' Mangold said, ''but you can't argue with the body.''
He was on the field in the rain during practice for the first time all week, but just as a spectator while wearing a brace on his right foot. He was walking without a limp, but isn't ready physically for an NFL game.
''It's not the fun thing, but probably the smart thing,'' Mangold said of missing the game.
Mangold left MetLife Stadium last Sunday with his foot in a boot while using crutches. High ankle sprains normally take a few weeks to heal, but Mangold was off the crutches early this week and out of the big, bulky boot Friday.
''It's definitely getting better,'' he said. ''Every day, it gets better, but it's just not good enough.''
Both Ryan and Mangold were optimistic that the center might be able to play next week at Baltimore.
''I sure hope so,'' Mangold said. ''That's my goal. It was my goal to play this week, so that'll be my goal definitely next week.''
Meanwhile, Baxter is set to make his first NFL start in what will be a big test while facing the Raiders' big defensive linemen in Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly and Matt Shaughnessy. He was solid in his debut last week when he played three quarters when Mangold went out with the injury.
''He's doing well,'' Mangold said. ''He learned a lot from the last game and we've been working hard this week. We were hoping that we didn't have to use it, but we're glad we put the work in with him.''
Baxter, an undrafted rookie free agent claimed off waivers from San Diego a few weeks ago, has been preparing all week as if he was going to start. He has spent lots of time with Mangold, injured offensive lineman Robert Turner and offensive line coach Bill Callahan to try to get ready.
''I think I'm absorbing it all pretty well and I feel like I understand the stuff,'' Baxter said.
Ryan said the team liked what it saw of Baxter on film before signing him, and his tough-guy demeanor on the field reminds them a lot of Turner, who would normally be Mangold's backup but is sidelined with a broken leg.
''This one's going to be a huge challenge,'' Ryan said, ''but I think he's up for it.''
And so does Baxter, who realizes the Jets saw some talent in him when they went after him a few weeks ago.
''I got thrown in there last week against Jacksonville and I think I played pretty well,'' he said. ''They obviously had other options and could've brought in other guys, but they feel confident in me, I feel confident in myself and I want to go prove them right.''