Patriots’ Mankins ready to play tackle again
Bill Belichick saw promise and versatility watching tape of
Logan Mankins play left tackle in college.
The New England coach now needs his stalwart left guard to
duplicate those efforts more than ever.
When starting left tackle Nate Solder left the Patriots’ loss
Sunday against Miami because of a concussion, his second in two
weeks, Mankins shifted from guard to tackle, spending almost the
entire fourth quarter protecting quarterback Tom Brady’s blind
And if Solder is unable to return Sunday for the Patriots’
pivotal game against the Ravens – an unlikely scenario despite
practicing in a limited capacity Thursday after not partaking at
all a day earlier – Mankins once again will be called upon to fill
”Scheme-wise, it’s not all that hard. I know all the plays at
every position so that’s not tough,” said Mankins, who has started
127 of 128 career games at left guard. ”Just the overall different
angles, different foot work, that kind of thing. I have to process
that pretty fast.”
He had no problem Sunday.
Solder, who had a concussion against Cleveland two weeks ago and
was limited in practice last week, left the game against Miami
after a hit to the helmet in the fourth quarter. Rookie Josh Kline
Mankins’ slot at guard while the nine-year veteran inherited
Solder’s spot at tackle.
The Patriots (10-4) already are without starting right tackle
Sebastian Vollmer, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve
Oct. 29 because of a broken right leg.
”We can’t dwell on the fact that someone may or may not be
there. You just have to go with what you’ve got,” Brady said. ”I
have plenty of things I have to focus on. Whoever is out there, I
have to trust that they’ll be able to do what they’re asked to do
or else we wouldn’t be asking them to do it.”
Belichick certainly believes in Mankins.
The only film he saw of Mankins at Fresno State was of him
playing left tackle, but when the Patriots drafted him 32nd overall
in 2005, Matt Light already was entrenched as the starter. Mankins
was moved to left guard and has flourished, making the Pro Bowl
”I think there’s no question that he could have played left
tackle in this league, played for us,” Belichick said. ”But we
had Light there, we put him into the lineup right away at left
guard and he and Light played together for years and then we got
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.”
Believe it or not, a few steps to the left translates into an
entirely new assignment, Mankins said.
”You’re going against faster guys (as opposed to) big, powerful
guys,” he explained. ”You’ve got speed guys on the edge. You’re
running around a lot more. Those guys are faster. You’re not always
just, someone slams into you. Your feet have got to be a little
quicker. You have to be a little faster.”
Mankins tried to emulate Light as best he could Sunday.
”I always watched Matt Light all those years where we were kind
of the same size,” he said. ”I figured when I’m out there I
should do what he did.”
If Mankins is lined up at left tackle against the Ravens (8-6),
he will be in for a tougher task than last week.
Linebacker-defensive end hybrids Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs
are one of the most talented tandems in the league, already
combining for 18 1/2 sacks this season.
”They’ve both played in this league a long time and I’ve seen
them on film tons of times,” Mankins said. ”They’re both very
good players. They’re good at what they do. They’re both powerful
guys and they get the job done out there.”
Mankins routinely does, too.
So much so that Belichick maintains he could play all five
positions along the offensive line.
Maybe even tight end?
”I could catch,” Mankins joked. ”I don’t know if I could get