Light on Big Show: O-line going ‘100 mph’ without Mankins
|08.13.10 at 6:27 pm ET|
Patriots offensive Matt Light called in to The Big Show Friday afternoon following the team’s 27-24 win over the Saints in the team’s first preseason game of the season. Despite the win, Light said that coach Bill Belichick made sure to keep the team grounded.
“You get into the first preseason game, and things were going pretty good,” he said. “First series didn’t go as well as it should have been. We missed an opportunity with good field position. The second drive was 12, 14 plays whatever it was, and we went down and scored. But there were a lot of things I think that we can build on and we did pretty well, but there’s still a bit of room.”
Also, as the unofficial leader of the offensive line, Light commented on not having guard Logan Mankins in camp due to a contract dispute.
“Does it hurt not having Logan in there? Yeah, I can’t lie to you,” said Light. “I’ve played next to the guy for a long time and wish he was there with us right now, but we’ve got what we’ve got and we’re going to go 100 miles per hour with it. I think the expectations for everyone in that offensive line room is that they can step up and play.
What follows are some highlights of that interview. To hear it in its entirety, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.
I’m sure Bill Belichick was exuberant about the team’s performance last night.
Well, you might find this hard to believe, but there were a number of things we need to improve on. We went in today, and you can never be too excited, especially with the first preseason game. I think we have a lot of guys who put a lot of work in in the offseason and really have done as much as you could do to prepare yourself for the season. Then, you go into training camp and get those first couple dings. Then, you get into that first preseason game, and things went pretty good. First series didn’t go as well as it should have been. We missed an opportunity with good field position. The second drive was 12, 14 plays whatever it was, and we went down and scored. But there were a lot of things I think that we can build on and we did pretty well, but there’s still a bit of room.
Is there a different sense to this camp than those of the past?
I think this camp’s different for a number of reasons. I think first and foremost just the guys we have in that locker room. I don’t know if you guys can see as much as we do, but the feeling is so different from year to year. This year, not unlike any other year, is completely different from the guys we had in the locker room and kind of the mindset we’ve been working on in the offseason, the things we need to get better at and how much time like I said these guys have put into it so it’s definitely different.
How valuable was the work against the Saints in the couple of days you practices against them?
I felt like it went pretty well. It’s different when you’re going up against your own guys for a long time. Then, you’ve got the other guys coming in, and you want to see what the tempo’s going to be like. I felt like it was extremely competitive, and we got a lot of good work out there. It was good to go and hit somebody different. I felt like that first morning practice, it definitely was the heat that they’re used to but it was fairly warm. We got some pretty good workouts in, and we followed it up with a pretty heavy afternoon. We came out Wednesday and got after it a little bit so it’ll all do us well in the end.
What’re your thoughts of Ty Warren being on the IR?
Well, it’s tough. Ty brings a lot of experience and obviously just a great playing style to that defensive line. He’s been a big part of it. Obviously, you can’t replace a guy like Ty. Losing Ty for the season, that’s a tough deal. Wish him the best, and if you’ve been around Ty for very long, you know that he’s going to go 100 miles per hour to get back from this thing and he’ll be ready to strap it up next year. But it’s a tough loss for the team. Thankfully, we’ve got a lot of depth and some guys on the defensive line there that can step in and make it happen so it’s a plus in the whole scheme of things I guess.
There’s a lot of talk about Logan Mankins. How important is it for the offensive line to get some cohesiveness at this point in the year?
I understand the question and if you look at how we’ve operated here, the job that [Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia] has done with the offensive line over the entire time that I’ve been here. For 10 years, he’s prepared guys as well as anybody I’ve ever been around. Our mindset’s always been regardless of who it is next to you, we practice these things enough and guys are astute and take it upon themselves to get ready for action any time they’re called upon. Does it hurt not having Logan in there? Yeah, I can’t lie to you. I’ve played next to the guy for a long time and wish he was there with us right now, but we’ve got what we’ve got and we’re going to go 100 miles per hour with it. I think the expectations for everyone in that offensive line room is that they can step up and play. Dan [Koppen‘s] always done that, and Russ Hochstein, when he was here, filled in at several positions. We’ve got a lot of guys who have been able to do that at critical times, and we really haven’t skipped a beat there.