Logan Mankins on his knee and the O-Line: ‘Hopefully, it feels good all year’
|09.06.12 at 1:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Logan Mankins is more than aware of his leadership role and the vital role he plays now more than ever on the Patriots offensive line.
Whether he’s at 100 percent or not after right knee ACL surgery in February, Mankins is the glue that is keeping the line together.
‘It’s good right now so still getting lots of ice and trying to take care of it the best I can and hopefully it feels good all year,” Mankins said Thursday, just over 72 hours from his first real test of the season against the Titans in Tennessee. ‘Of course, I never knew how fast I would heal and everything would progress. So far, it’s been good’
Could he play most – if not the entire game – on Sunday?
‘It’s a possibility. It’s always tough. But it goes for everyone in the league. Not everyone plays a full game in the preseason so it’s different for everyone. Myself, not having too many reps I just have to trust in my conditioning and hopefully, it’s good enough.’
‘It was difficult. We’re still only barely past six months so it hasn’t been that long. We’re still taking it day-by-day, still improves every day so it’s getting better.’
As for the changes all along the offensive line, Mankins believes the work-in-progress is coming along.
‘It’s coming together,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of guys miss a lot of time so we’re still working on it and we have a lot of work to do between here and Sunday and hopefully, we can put our best on the field Sunday, play good together. We have to trust in each other and work together.
‘We’re going against a good team,” Mankins said of the Titans D. “They’re a young defense. They’re very athletic, very fast and they play really hard. So, it’s going to be a big challenge. The main thing is you do your job and trust them to do theirs and everything will be fine. It’s when we start worrying about what the guy next to you is doing is when things get messed up.’
Mankins said he’s not concerned with all of the new faces in the locker room right now as the Patriots have the youngest roster in Bill Belichick‘s 13 years in Foxboro.
‘We’re too busy,” he said. “We have some long days scheduled out here so we don’t have time to worry about that too much but we are a lot younger team, some older guys are gone. You just have to count on each other that they’re going to do their job, they’re going to put in the film study, do the work on the field and hopefully, it shows up on Sundays.
‘I am getting old, 30. See all this gray hair I’m getting? But I guess it happens to us all.’
Then came the tell-tale comment on the state of the Patriots offensive line, as he anchors the left side of Tom Brady‘s protection.
‘It’s just the three of us seeing it through the same set of eyes on that side,” Mankins said of left tackle Nate Solder and center Ryan Wendell. “Really, there should only be one call and that’s the right call. If we start making too many calls and guys are saying things we don’t need up there, it gets guys confused. We just have to be on the same page, trust that call and everyone do what it says.’
On the loss of Dan Koppen, who was cut last week, Mankins was philosophical.
‘It was sad to see Dan go,” he said. “He was a good guy. I was a teammate with him for seven years and training camps. We hung out together outside of football and spent some time together and it’s always tough to see a guy you like and you enjoyed playing next to go but we all know it’s part of the business and it happens to all of us at some point.’
Mankins is not offering any ammo on the holdout of Brian Waters, who is under contract with the Patriots this year but hasn’t reported.
‘I don’t want to get into that too much,” Mankins said of his fellow Pro Bowler from 2011. “Brian did a great job for us last year and that’s all I can say.’
Mankins ended things joking – somewhat – about the state of the NFL replacement officials. He’s not concerned.
‘Nah, we’ve had the normal officials out there and they make bad calls,” he said. “If these guys make a bad call, it’s no different than normal, really.
‘Every time they call a hold on me, it’s never holding,” he joked. “They must just get my number confused with someone else’s.’