Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Logan Mankins: Lapses hurting o-line
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots left guard Logan Mankins plays with a physical, hold-nothing-back approach on the field. He also is a straight talker off it.
So when assessing the struggles of the team's offense, Mankins didn't dance around the issue. It's not all on the offensive line, but when the unit plays like it did in the third quarter of last Sunday's 30-27 loss to the Jets, it's simply not good enough.
"It's not all on us, but there is enough of it that is on us. The perfect example is the other night. We come out in the third quarter -- sack, sack -- a lot of that was on us. Mental assignments, guys just getting beat," Mankins said of the quarter in which the Jets took control of the game, erasing a 21-10 halftime deficit. "Whenever the line is not playing well, it's hard to score points."
The Patriots' starting line returned intact for 2013 with left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Mankins, center Ryan Wendell, right guard Dan Connolly and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Thus, expectations were high that the unit would be a strong point for the offense.
The results, however, have been uneven.
"The expectations start high in our room also. We expect a lot out of ourselves also [and] I think that's why we were disappointed after the game the other night," Mankins said. "We thought we played well until the end of the second [quarter] there. The third quarter was bad and then I thought we played better in the fourth quarter. But we had that lull right there in the third quarter that really hurt us, and hurt the team. We just can't play like that. ...
"There are times when we've played really well and times we've played really bad, like the other night, for a little stretch there, was just about as bad you can get. The thing is, everyone in that room wants to do it perfect. It's just not going to happen all the time; we're playing against good guys. The frustrating thing is when we do things wrong and that's the reason for a sack. We want to make them earn it and we didn't make them earn it every time."
As part of improving on those results, the Patriots practiced in full pads Wednesday, with Mankins saying it always helps to go back to the basics after an inconsistent performance. Looking ahead to Sunday's home game against the Dolphins, Mankins pointed to their deep defensive line as a strength.
So it will be another big test for an offensive line looking to string together a full 60-minute effort.
"It's a big division game. We let one get away last week and now we're facing a team that is very good, especially on their front seven on defense, and their front four. Those are good defensive linemen," he said. "It's going to be tough for our offense again this week. Hopefully we can do a better job."