Mankins: Nice to see plan unfold

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Logan Mankins is like most offensive linemen. Given the choice to run block or pass block, he prefers powering forward in the run game.

So when coaches kept emphasizing a desire to improve the running game this offseason, Mankins liked what he heard. At the same time, those types of things can change fast.

"It’s always great to have a plan, and to say you’re going to get better at something, but it always just doesn’t happen," he said Thursday. "It takes a lot of work, a lot of commitment from guys – the coaches to stick with it."

The Patriots' persistence has paid off the last two weeks. For the first time since 1978, they had back to back games with more than 200 yards rushing.

But don't count Mankins among those who believe the running game has officially arrived. He points to games against the Cardinals (Week 2) and Ravens (Week 3) as those in which it struggled.

"It’s week to week. Sometimes it’s going to be good. This week, it might not be good," Mankins said, looking ahead to Sunday's game against the Seahawks. "We’re going up against a very good rush defense, so hopefully we can do good.”

The Seahawks rank third in the NFL in rush defense, allowing an average of 66.6 yards per game.

In past years, the Patriots might have conceded the run altogether in a scenario like this. A 2006 game in Minnesota comes to mind, when they spread the field and attacked almost exclusively through the air.

Yet they seem more equipped to run it than they have in recent years, so however it unfolds, Mankins will be ready.

"As long as there is production, and we’re gaining yards and scoring points, we’ll continue to try to do that," he said of the running game. "I think our coaches do a good job of whatever is working the best, we’ll continue to do. There is no reason to keep beating your head against the wall if it’s not working.”

As for Mankins himself, he was limited in practice Wednesday and then listed on the team's participation report with hip and calf ailments. In Sunday's win over the Broncos, he didn't finish the game, with the coaches telling him his day was done midway through the fourth quarter. He previously missed the win over the Bills on Sept. 30.

“Just working to get better, taking it day by day, spending a lot of time in the training room," Mankins said of his physical condition. "It’s never fun, but it’s just one of those things you have to get through.”