Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork react to the acquisition of Brian Waters
|09.05.11 at 2:27 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Logan Mankins got a new neighbor in the Patriots locker room over the weekend when the Patriots signed veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters.
“I’ve been a fan of Brian’s for quite a while now, and he’s a good player, a good guy. We’re happy to have him,” Mankins said of Waters, who will wear No. 54. “He’s just a solid player. He plays hard, he cleans out the pocket. That’s something we like to do here.
“He’s a really good pass blocker, a good run blocker, and he’s consistent. He’s … what is this, his 11th year? He’s been a good player for a long time.”
“I’m glad he’s on this side, I tell you that. As a rookie, I remember going against (him),” said defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. “I’m happy he’s here. I tell you that. Hopefully, he can come in to help us, which he will, and start this season off on a good foot.”
The 34-year-old Waters, a four-time Pro Bowler, is a 6-foot-3, 320-pounder who was cut loose late last month by the Chiefs after 11 seasons in Kansas City. The addition of Waters gives New England some added depth along the interior of the offensive line, particularly right guard. Last year’s starter, Stephen Neal, retired, and his de facto replacement, Dan Connolly, suffered an ankle injury in the Patriots’ preseason loss to Detroit last week. (He returned to practice for the first time on Monday.)
As for the rest of the possibilities, Rich Ohrnberger was placed on injured reserve this past weekend, ending his season, while Ryan Wendell has struggled to see the field since suffering an injury in training camp and potential guard Marcus Cannon was placed on reserve/non-football injury list on Saturday.
“We like depth, especially at practice,” Mankins said with a chuckle. “Yeah, you have five guys, and there’s always going to be injuries along the line at some point, so you have to have guys that you trust and are reliable to put in there.”
Going forward, Mankins will remain the starter at left guard, while Waters will move from left to right. Waters said he has played a “little” right guard over the course of his career, and while Mankins said Monday he’s never made the switch, but it’s probably just a matter of getting the footwork down.
“He plays like I do,” Mankins said of Waters. “We like that.”
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