By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
FOXBORO Vince Wilfork expects the struggling New York Jets offense to be better on Sunday for one reason: Nick Mangold.
The All-Pro center who has been out recently with an ankle injury, is expected back in time for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. But Wilfork wouldn't mind seeing the 6-foot-4, 300-pound center take another week off.
When asked if he wanted to see Mangold play, Wilfork responded, "No. I don't."
Wilfork added, "He's probably one of the best offensive lineman in the game. He's definitely a leader on the team for them. I know they'd love for him to play."
And that may be why Jets head coach Rex Ryan, never one to lack confidence, is pretty sure his team won't have a repeat of last Sunday's 34-17 debacle against Baltimore.
Ryan didn't need to see the video of the loss to the Ravens to realize that not having Mangold in the middle was a significant factor in his team losing for the second week in a row.
"You take out the best center in football -- no offense to (Jets reserve center) Colin Baxter -- but there's only one Nick Mangold in this league," Ryan said. "When he went out, that was a huge loss to us. With Vince (Wilfork) and all those guys, we need Nick."
Added Wilfork: "He gives them a spark. There's absolutely a difference when he's in and not in. I expect for him to be there (on Sunday), get things going and get his team off to a good start."
Mangold was drafted by the Jets with the 29th overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, the lone center taken in the first round that year.