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Veteran Logan Mankins ready to tackle another new assignment if needed against Ravens

12.18.13 at 2:50 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Logan Mankins isn’€™t surprised by much, and so when he was asked to kick outside from left guard to left tackle on Sunday against the Dolphins, he wasn’€™t exactly shocked.

The 31-year-old veteran didn’€™t need a lot of time to get used to the new spot, taking over for Nate Solder after the starting left tackle went down with a head injury in the second half.

‘€œ[There are] a lot of different angles — going against faster guys, I’€™m used to the big, powerful guys, and now, I’€™m going against the speed guys on the edge,’€ he said after practice on Wednesday. ‘€œIt’€™s just something you have to get used to and learn on the fly. It went pretty well.

‘€œI don’€™t know what our plan is this week. We have a bunch of different options, and we’€™ll hopefully get it figured out before Sunday.’€

The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Mankins, who played left tackle while at Fresno State and served as a left tackle in a limited role in the past, said that whenever he has a question about tackle technique, he thinks about former Patriots veteran Matt Light.

‘€œI always watched Matt Light all those years — we’€™re kind of the same size,’€ Mankins said of Light, who retired after the 2011 season after 11 years with New England. ‘€œWhen I’€™m out there, I always try to do what he did.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday that it was because of Light’€™s presence and steady play over the years that caused them to decide to move Mankins to left guard when he was drafted in 2005.

‘€œI think there’€™s no question that he could have played left tackle in this league, played for us,’€ Belichick said of Mankins. ‘€œBut we had Light there, we put him into the lineup right away at left guard and he and Light played together for [six] years and then we got [Nate] Solder and that was kind of the way it worked out.

‘€œI don’€™t think there was ever a thought from the coaching staff or from myself that he couldn’€™t play left tackle. That wasn’€™t it. It was more, ‘€˜We have a left tackle and he could play guard.’€™’€

According to Mankins, playing on the edge demands more finesse than when you’€™re lined up in the interior at guard.

‘€œYou’€™re running around a lot more — those guys are faster,’€ he said. ‘€œIt’€™s not always getting someone slammed into you. You’€™re feet have to be a little quicker. Move a little faster.’€

Solder was out for the bulk of the fourth quarter, and could be forced to sit out Sunday against the Ravens, a team known for their ability to create pressure off the edge with Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs.

‘€œI’€™ve lined up across from those guys a bunch of time, but they’€™re always on the tackle. They’€™ve both played in this league a long time, and I’€™ve seen them on film tons of times,’€ Mankins said of Dumervil and Suggs, who have combined for 18.5 sacks on the season. ‘€œThey’€™re both very good players — good at what they do. Powerful guys, and they get the job done out there. They’€™re good.

‘€œThey’€™re very good,’€ Mankins added when pressed about the Baltimore defense as a whole. ‘€œI think every statistic you look at, they’€™re right there near the top. They’€™re good on third down, good in the red area. They don’€™t give up many points on the first drive of the game. They’€™re a good defense and they’€™re playing well.’€

Mankins said he practiced ‘€œeverywhere’€ on the line on Wednesday, and is pretty much ready for any contingency against Baltimore.

‘€œI think as the week goes on, the more and more we know, the more I’€™ll know in what I have to do,’€ he said. ‘€œAt this point, I’€™m just looking to both to see what’€™s going to happen. We still don’€™t know what Nate’€™s status is. We’€™ve got other guys who have played tackle before, so we’€™re seeing what’€™s going to happen. We’€™ll let it play out.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder,
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