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Dan Koppen on M&M: Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynesworth ‘a great thing for us as an offensive line’

08.15.11 at 12:45 pm ET
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Dan Koppen spoke with Mut & Merloni Monday at Gillette. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Koppen said he was “pretty happy” about not having to face Shaun Ellis anymore, and that facing Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynseworth is “a great thing for us as an offensive line.”

“Vince is a great player, and Albert’s a great player, and we have a lot of great players, we have a lot of defensive linemen in camp now,” Koppen said. “So we get plenty of work, and that’s only going to help us in the long run.”

Koppen also said that as an offensive lineman, the 4-3 defense requires a more intricate, synchronized offensive line to protect the quarterback.

“That’s when your techniques and how you work well with the people around you comes in,” Koppen said, adding that many NFL defenses are about “trying to confuse and disguise a lot of the things that they have.”

Koppen said that having veterans like Matt Light and Logan Mankins on the line with him gives the Patriots an advantage in this lockout-shortened preseason.

“Being able to play with those guys, and knowing what they’re capable of doing and what they’re going to do in certain situations, it helps the learning process,” Koppen said.

Koppen said that younger linemen like Nate Solder could learn something from Mankins’ approach to the game.

“Logan is just one of those special guys,” Koppen said, adding: “Logan goes out there, he works hard, he tries to get better each every day, and he’s been rewarded for it.”

Of Solder himself, Koppen said, “you can just see his athleticism come out,”

“He’s one of those guys that gets in the book, studies his plays,” Koppen said. “Smart guy. If he keeps working at it, he’s got a lot of potential.”

Koppen called Tom Brady “the biggest competitor that I’ve ever met.”

“Even in practice he’s on you,” Koppen said. “He expects the best out of you on every play, and if you’re not giving it to him, he’s going to call you out on it.”

Koppen said that despite Brady’s intensity and talent, balancing the passing game with the running game is the key to victory.

“If you can’t run the ball, you’re going to have a long season.”

Read More: Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins, Matt Light, Nate Solder
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