NFL Rumors: Will New York Jets Left Guard Matt Slauson Play Center in Nick Mangold’s Absence?
The New York Jets‘ annual Green vs. White scrimmage game is scheduled for this weekend, their first true scrimmage of training camp, with the first-team offense facing off with the first-team defense in earnest.
However, don’t expect to see the first-team offense at full strength.
Two of the Jets’ Pro Bowl offensive linemen are not in training camp Saturday, in fact, neither of them are even in New York state at the moment.
Center Nick Mangold has left camp to fly to London, to watch his sister Holley compete in the Olympic games, while right guard Brandon Moore is in Canton, Ohio, for Curtis Martin‘s Hall of Fame induction.
Obviously, that means the Jets will have to do a little shuffling on their offensive line during their scrimmage and team drills until their two big cogs return.
There are plenty of guards on the roster, so temporarily filling Moore’s spot won’t be a problem. But Mangold’s absence is a little trickier.
The Jets don’t have a true natural center on their roster to back up Mangold, so they’ll likely be using a converted guard at center for now. The only question is, who?
During an emergency at one point last season, the Jets shifted starting left guard Matt Slauson to center for a little while, and it’s very possible that Slauson could be second on the depth chart even now.
Young lineman Caleb Schlauderaff is also in the mix, but it would not surprise me to see the Jets use Slauson at center during the Green and White scrimmage, with two backup guards flanking him on either side.
It’s nothing too concerning for the Jets at the moment, and I’m sure it’ll be good for the back-up guards to get some reps with the first team, but it’ll be interesting to see what they do with Matt Slauson.
Mangold had a significant injury for the first time in his career last season, and the Jets had the unfortunate luck to have already lost their back-up center for the season at that point.
This year, they’ll hope that Mangold is back to his usual self, which means Slauson likely won’t have to snap the football in an NFL game this year.
However, he’ll still practice it, just in case.
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