Patriots guard Logan Mankins  joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about his injury, the Patriots at the bye week, the acquisition of Aqib Talib , and more team news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page .
Mankins has missed three games this season with soreness in his calf and hip. Known for his ability to play through pain, Mankins said it has been difficult to not be out on the field.
‘It’s been really hard,’ Mankins said. ‘I don’t think there is anything worse than being hurt and having an injury to where you can’t be out there with the guys practicing or playing. ‘¦ That’s really tough. We’ve been working on it hard and getting ready to go here and try to finish out the season.’
Mankins traveled to London for the Rams game but wasn’t able to play. He hopes to be back when the Pats  play the Bills this week.
‘Yeah, I was close.’ Mankins said. ‘Just one of those injuries that needs rest. We’ll see. We’re going to test it out a bit this week and see what happens and hopefully I can. I think I’ve been on the shelf long enough. I need to get back out there.’
The Patriots are rushing for an average of 150 yards per game, ranking fourth in the league. Mankins said it’s a combination of everybody working together.
‘A lot of that goes on the players,’ Mankins said. ‘If you don’t do it good, coach isn’t going to keep calling it. This year we’ve been pretty productive. It goes down to the backs. The backs have been outstanding. [Stevan] Ridley has ran great, breaks a lot of tackles. The line has done a pretty good job; the tight ends have done a good job. We’ve had a lot of longer runs this year, too, and that goes to receivers getting blocks in down the field. It’s just been a good team effort on that. When everyone is doing the right thing, it has been pretty good.”
The Patriots acquired Talib last week. Mankins said that if Talib is serious about playing, he’ll succeed.
‘I haven’t met him yet,” Mankins said. “I don’t know a whole lot about him other than what I’ve heard. So we’ll see when he gets here. When you bring players in, it’s up to them. If they want to put in the work, they can watch the leaders around here and see how we do things. If they want to be lazy and do things their way, it’s not going to work. I’m sure Bill [Belichick] did his homework and he’s bringing in a guy that wants to play and wants to win, so if he wants to play and wants to win, this is the place to come to. ‘¦ I think you give them the benefit of the doubt, see if they are willing to do everything. ‘¦ It’s up to the player. If they want to do it, then this team is willing to keep them around. And if they don’t want to do it, we’ll find somebody that wants to.’
As the Patriots gear up for the Bills, Mankins says Buffalo is not a team to be taken lightly.
‘We kind of went a different direction than they have,” Mankins said. “They’ve been losing a few here and we’ve been winning. They’re still a dangerous team. If they put it all together on any Sunday, they can beat anyone. We’re expecting a good game from them because they still have a lot of quality players. We’re just getting prepared for them like any other team. Hopefully we play a good game, hopefully they don’t.’
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On Shane Vereen : ‘He does a good job. The thing about him is he’s quick and he’s explosive and he has good vision. You get him a little crease and he can make a big play out of it. That’s what we’re getting this year, we’re getting longer runs than in the past and those really help.’
On the offensive line: ‘We knew coming into the year we had to get together and do a good job. We have a bunch of new guys playing and guys at different positions than they were from last year. It’s been up and down. We haven’t played perfect, but we’ve improved every week, and that’s what we wanted to do, get better each week and hopefully by the end of the season we’ll be playing really good football.’
On the Week 9 bye week: ‘I like the bye week later in the year. Your body is getting worn down and then you get a nice week right there in the middle of the season to make that final push, so it’s nice to have it later in the year. ‘¦ We have a number of games now to see what we’re doing well and what we’re not doing so well. We have a lot of plays to look at, to just study ourselves and see what we can do better.’