|Experience on Patriots offensive line making transition to Dave DeGuglielmo era easier||08.11.14 at 6:50 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots took a major hit following last season when offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia retired after spending 32 seasons in the NFL, 30 of which coming with the Patriots. The organization brought in veteran offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo to replace Scarnecchia, but with the number of returning members of the offensive line, the transition has been made much easier.
New England returned its entire starting offensive line from the past two seasons, as well as backup Marcus Cannon, so the system Scarnecchia put into place has not been altered much.
“It’s not completely different,” said nine-year veteran Logan Mankins. “There are a lot of things that are the same, but there is some stuff that is different. Guys like myself that have done it for so long, it takes a little while to train your body to do it a different way.
“But we’re working on it, and a lot of guys are getting it.”
All nine of Mankins’ seasons in the NFL have been with the Patriots, and teaming up with other offensive line starters Dan Connolly (six seasons in New England), Ryan Wendell (five), Sebastian Vollmer (five), Nate Solder (three) and Cannon (three), the unit has a combined 31 years playing for Scarnecchia.
With the success of the Patriots offensive lines in the past, DeGuglielmo — a Lexington, Mass. native — knew coming in he wouldn’t change much of what was already put into place.
“The system is in place. It’s not like we’re reinventing anything here. I’m trying to teach the system,” DeGuglielmo said back on the second day of training camp. “I might use different coaching phrases, but it’s the same stuff. It’s the same technique, generally the same offense. I’m not changing anything, that’s for sure.”
After 14 practices and one preseason game, the grouping is still getting used to their new coach, but things are steadily moving in the right direction.
“Thankfully, [DeGuglielmo] is a good guy, and I think he cares about winning and cares about the team so it always makes it easier,” Mankins said.
With roughly three weeks before the season-opener in Miami and three more preseason games remaining, it’s still a work in progress. But the grouping finds themselves in much better shape than some other teams could be in if put in the same position.
Having 31 combined years of experience learning from one of the best offensive line coaches in the league and a new coach willing to build on what was already built, the group is in as good of shape as they can be at this point in training camp.
“I think so. He has done a good job of making everything clear on how he wants stuff,” Mankins said. “We are trying to satisfy that. It’s not always perfect right now – it hardly ever is – [but] we’re making strides in the right direction, I think. I know we’re trying to do it the way he wants — hopefully he sees how hard we’re working.”
|Logan Mankins on Eagles CB Cary Williams’ comments: ‘I’m sure it wasn’t the smartest thing in the world’||at 5:39 pm ET|
FOXBORO — With the Eagles set to come to town for two days of joint practices with the Patriots before their preseason game Friday night, much has been made of the comments of Philly cornerback Cary Williams, who called the Patriots “cheaters,” and said the joint practices aren’t beneficial.
A day before the practices, Williams didn’t back down from what he said as he told the New Jersey Star-Ledger, “I said what I said last week. The day is here.”
The Patriots on the other hand, aren’t paying attention to the comments.
“I don’t even know what he was saying,” veteran guard Logan Mankins said. “I’m sure it wasn’t the smartest thing in the world what he said, so I’m not worried.”
Bill Belichick was also asked if he had any reaction, but had nothing to say.
“You should talk to [Williams] it,” he said.
The Eagles and Patriots will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before Friday’s second preseason game.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Centers of attention: Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork all in spotlight||08.04.14 at 7:00 am ET|
One of the more interesting positions over the first week-plus of Patriots training camp has been center, where Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Bryan Stork have all gotten plenty of work.
Wendell enters the 2014 season as the incumbent, having served as the No. 1 center for the better part of the last two years. A favorite of both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, he’s played almost more snaps than anyone else in the league since the start of the 2012 season.
It’s been a long journey for the 28-year-old Wendell, who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008, got his first series of starts along the interior in 2010 and moved into the starting center position in 2012.
“When Ryan first got here, he couldn’t even make our practice squad,” Belichick recalled earlier this summer when asked about the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Wendell. “He was a camp player [and] wasn’t on our practice squad at the beginning of the season. We brought him back to the practice squad during his first year.
“I’d say it’s been about as big of a progression as really any player could have, any player I’ve had or any player could have — maybe Steve Neal. But it’s the same kind of thing — guys [who] weren’t even on the practice squad that eventually became starting players in the NFL. That’s a pretty big jump. It took a lot of time, a lot of hard work and he’s certainly done his part and worked hard. He’s a very smart football player, and doesn’t have many missed assignments.”
At the same time, he figured to be pushed by the 23-year-old Stork, a rookie with a peerless college resume — he won the Rimington Award last year as the best center in college football in 2013, and was a captain for the national champions from Florida State.
“Bryan was a pretty durable player,” Patriots personnel chief Nick Caserio said of the 6-foot-4, 313-pound Stork, who started 41 games as a collegian with the Seminoles. “He played a lot of football. He played against good people.
“Smart guy, tough, good playing strength, had a good playing style, good demeanor. He did a lot of good things, and there was a lot to like about him.”
However, one player who has really emerged has been the 31-year-old Connolly, a part-time center who has really made his bones the last few years as the starting right guard. When Stork went down with an undisclosed injury — he’s missed three of the eight practices this summer as a result — the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Connolly stepped in as the backup, while Marcus Cannon took many of the reps at right guard. The move appeared to be a chance to take some of the reps from Wendell and give the starter a bit of a rest. But to this point, Connolly has performed well, and has added some more spice to the mix.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots in rain-soaked OTAs||06.05.14 at 9:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price assess the ups and downs from the second week of Patriots OTAs that concluded in the heavy rain Thursday outside Gillette Stadium. Jimmy Garoppolo made his debut in front of the media on the field while Logan Mankins returned to the field. Rob Gronkowski and Vince Wilfork were also on hand while Aaron Dobson and Alfonzo Dennard were not.
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price dish on Dante Scarnecchia, Brandon Spikes, protecting ‘Patriot Way’||04.17.14 at 5:52 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia is joined by Chris Price to discuss the leadership that offensive captain Logan Mankins brings to the Patriots. Mankins defended the team against the harsh criticism of former linebacker Brandon Spikes and laughed off a prediction from Spikes that his new team, the Bills, would beat the Patriots twice in 2014. Petraglia and Price also discuss how Mankins will stabilize a veteran offensive line that lost its longtime coach, Dante Scarnecchia, to retirement.
1. He sounds optimistic about the upcoming transition period for the New England offensive line.
For the first time since shortly after the earth cooled, Dante Scarnecchia will not be coaching the Patriots offensive line. It’ll be an interesting stretch for Mankins, who will be losing the only position coach he’s known at the professional level. However, Mankins said new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo “seems like a great guy, and I look forward to working with him.”
“It’s going to be a big change,” Mankins said when asked about moving on from Scarnecchia. “I was lucky enough to have him for nine seasons. I wish that could have continued. But he put in his time and he earned the right to retire. Last time I talked to him, he was enjoying life right now and he’s staying busy. But it will be a lot different. That’s the only o-line coach I’ve known for quite a while now, so, it’ll be a bit of a change.”
What does Mankins want out of a new coach?
“Personally, I just want a coach that’s fair, he’s going to treat everyone the same — there’s no one on a pedestal,” he said. “I think I learned to appreciate that from Dante. He was a hard coach, but he was a fair coach. We always knew he had our backs. He demanded a lot of us, but I think that’s what made a lot of us good players. That’s why he was such a successful coach and lasted so long.”
2. He’s been working a lot with fellow guard Dan Connolly this offseason.
According to Mankins, for the first time in several years, both Mankins and Connolly aren’t dealing with any sort of offseason rehab for surgery. As a result, the two have been working together in the area to ‘get after it’ for a few hours every morning. He said
“It’s been a good partnership right now,” Mankins said. “In years past, I had surgeries, he had surgeries, we had the whole lockout thing. We used to (train) a long time ago until certain things changed that, so this year was nice to get back together.
“We meet every morning at a certain time and get after it for a few hours then go home. It’s always nice to have someone to work out with, especially at your own position, that you are working on the same things,” Mankins said. “We’ve been pushing each other and it’s been working out well.”
Right now, Mankins said it’s just “the big boys throwing around weights.” That will transition to the start of the offseason program on Monday, where coaches can get involved. At that point, it’s expected that more cardio will be worked into the mix. Mankins said center Ryan Wendell has also been present since re-signing about three weeks ago, while youngsters Jordan Devey and Chris Barker have also been present.
(For what it’s worth, Mankins also sounded an optimistic note on the state of right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who went down in October with a season ending leg injury. “He looks good right now, too. I don’t know his whole update right now, but he looks good and I know he’s working hard,” Mankins said of Vollmer. “There’s good promise there.”)
3. There’s something to be said for continuity.
If everyone returns healthy, the Patriots will have a chance to utilize the same five starting offensive linemen they had at the beginning of the 2013 season — Vollmer (right tackle), Connolly (right guard), Wendell (center), Mankins, (left guard) and Nate Solder (left tackle).
“It’s always good,” said Mankins when asked about continuity. “We know what were doing, (but) it always comes down to making the right blocks and doing a good job. We like the group we have. We like the guys in that room. They’re all hard working guys and they try very hard and they work hard. I think we could have a good season together.
“I look forward to seeing everyone get back and everyone getting to work together finally,” he added. “It’s always exciting, kind of like your first day back at school, I guess. You get to see everyone after the break, get to catch up with some friends you haven’t seen too much of lately, and get to work together, push each other, and see if other guys have been working as hard as you have.”
|Logan Mankins on Brandon Spikes’ guarantee of wins over Patriots: ‘Spikes being Spikes’||at 12:52 pm ET|
Spikes, who signed with the Bills as a free agent after four seasons in New England, recently predicted a pair of Buffalo wins over the Patriots this season. He also took a shot at New England’s approach to the injury report, hinting that the Patriots aren’t completely truthful when it comes to reporting injuries.
But on Thursday morning, Mankins wasn’t interested in retaliating.
“Everyone has their own opinions and everyone likes to think they know it all,” said Mankins during a break in his offseason workout program while at Gillette Stadium. “It really doesn’t bother me too much. I know what we have here. I know the owner pretty well now over the years and the head coach and those guys care about the team. They care about winning football games. Whatever anyone says, it kind of rolls off our backs. We know what we have here.
“I don’t pay too much attention to the media that much anyways — I’ve only heard guys joking around about what he said. But I think it’s just Brandon being Brandon. He has a pretty good sense of humor, I think — well, I don’t know if it’s good. But he likes to make jokes. I don’t know if he was joking here or being serious. But I think that’s just Spikes being Spikes.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
2014 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2014 NFL DRAFT
Latest from Bleacher Report
- How Big of an Impact Will Easley Make for Pats?
- Patriots' Top Offseason Moves
- Assessing Every Patriots UDFA's Chances of Making the Roster
- Projecting Patriots' Roster Battles This Offseason
- Ranking Pats' Remaining Offseason Priorities
- Early Projections for Patriots' Final 53-Man Roster
- In-Depth Look at Each Pats Draft Pick