Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/1/14
Nick Mangold has come close to reaching the Super Bowl, falling short in the AFC Championship twice, and having The Big Game in his backyard has only intensified the Jets center’s desire to play on the sport’s biggest stage. “Every year you’re not in it, it stings. It’s disappointing,” the eighth-year pro said at the MetLife Building in Midtown. “A lot of my friends have rings, and I’d like to get one.” Mangold said he was encouraged by the Jets’ strong finish last year, in which they won their final two games to go 8-8. He sees promise in their young roster, cap room and a bushel of draft picks. “It’s bright,” he said of the team’s future. “Hopefully we can use the momentum of how we finished and build on that for this offseason, really dive into the playbook, get some good work this offseason and have a better year next year.” Mangold is one of several players who worked with MetLife on a video rendition of the National Anthem that has gone viral in which the players sing portions of the Star-Spangled Banner. As for next season, Mangold said one key for the Jets is to cut down on their turnovers — they committed 29 last year, a recurring problem over the last three playoff-less seasons. “The biggest thing we need to do is not turn the ball over,” Mangold said. “That hurt us in the middle area of the season when we lost some games because we turned the ball over. It’s not just one guy, it’s the whole offense. … We fix those turnovers and I think we can do some pretty good things.” Though Jets coach Rex Ryan declined to say Geno Smith will go into next season as the team’s starting quarterback, Mangold was effusive in his praise of the rookie. “He finished strong, which was good to see,” Mangold said. “I thought he has his ups and downs, but we all do and I thought he did well for us.” In an interview with ESPN Radio on Friday, Smith didn’t seem bothered by the fact Ryan wouldn’t anoint him the starter. “The confidence I have in myself, this is my job,” Smith said. “”It just means more competition.It gives me that fire I’ve always had in me. … It’s going to make me work harder, make me tougher, make me work that much harder in [organized team activities] if I have someone to compete against.”
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