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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 ‘€œpretty happy’€ about not having to face Shaun Ellis anymore, and that facing Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynseworth is ‘€œa great thing for us as an offensive line.’€

‘€œVince 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. ‘€œSo 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.

‘€œThat’€™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 ‘€œtrying 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.

‘€œBeing 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.

‘€œLogan is just one of those special guys,’€ Koppen said, adding: ‘€œLogan 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, ‘€œyou can just see his athleticism come out,’€

‘€œHe’€™s one of those guys that gets in the book, studies his plays,’€ Koppen said. ‘€œSmart guy. If he keeps working at it, he’€™s got a lot of potential.’€

Koppen called Tom Brady ‘€œthe biggest competitor that I’€™ve ever met.’€

‘€œEven in practice he’€™s on you,’€ Koppen said. ‘€œHe 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.

‘€œIf 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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