Veteran Logan Mankins ready to tackle another new assignment if needed against Ravens
|12.18.13 at 2:50 pm ET|
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.
‘[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. ‘It’s just something you have to get used to and learn on the fly. It went pretty well.
‘I 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.
‘I 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. ‘When 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.
‘I think there’s no question that he could have played left tackle in this league, played for us,’ Belichick said of Mankins. ‘But 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.
‘I 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.
‘You’re running around a lot more — those guys are faster,’ he said. ‘It’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.
‘I’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. ‘They’re both very good players — good at what they do. Powerful guys, and they get the job done out there. They’re good.
‘They’re very good,’ Mankins added when pressed about the Baltimore defense as a whole. ‘I 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 ‘everywhere’ on the line on Wednesday, and is pretty much ready for any contingency against Baltimore.
‘I 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. ‘At 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.’