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Logan Mankins Transcript: "Anytime you can have Gronk on the field, it’s great"

Posted Jul 23, 2014

Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins addresses the media during a press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

Q: There’s no hair on your face.

LM: I know. If I don’t clean it up now, I won’t do it for a while.

Q: I think this is your 10th training camp. How is it different your 10th time versus your first?

LM: I'm not sure it’s too different – it’s just the way you go into it. I think I went into them all the same except the first one, when I didn’t know what to expect. And since then I’ve known what’s going to happen every time and I know how to prepare for it and to be ready for it.

Q: How many of these do you figure you have left in you?

LM: I don’t know. That’s a good question. It depends on health I think, and if they want to keep me around here still. We’ll see.

Q: Is it something you ruminate on at this point? Do you set aside a time in which you say ‘OK, do I want to continue to play?’

LM: I just want to play until I think I don’t feel good – and if I can still do it. If I can’t do it, I don’t think I’ll keep going once I don’t feel I’m playing the way I want to.

Q: Do you ever feel like crap?

LM: Yeah, all the time. Not yet; I feel great right now. I’m sure in a few days I’ll feel like crap.

Q: After signing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, bringing back Julian Edelman, and spending some money in free agency, are you guys feeling higher expectations for this year and how are you managing that?

LM: Well, we have pretty high expectations every season. We expect to have a good football team and play good football and try to be there at the end. We added some good players and we kept some good players from previous years. I have the same expectations I do every year: for us to have a good football team. You just have to play the games and see how it goes.

Q: What’s the dynamic been like with the new OL coach, Dave DeGuglielmo?

LM: It’s been great. Googe– he’s a good guy. He’s a hard working guy. He’s very loud. He gets his point across well. He’s funny. It’s been great so far and once the pads come on we’ll really see how he wants things done and the way he coaches. We haven’t experienced him in a game situation yet, so we’re still getting to know him and he’s still getting to know us. That’s what all these practices are for.

Q: This line has been together for a long time now. Going into training camp, how important is that confidence level of knowing all the guys?

LM: Yeah, it’s important. We do have a lot of veterans returning and we have some new young guys that are fitting in nicely so far, and it’s always good to know the guys you’re with, that you can trust them and stuff like that. That’s good. This is the time of year you have to go out and prove it and you have to earn your job, so that’s what training camp is for: earning the job.

Q: Bill Belichick said Rob Gronkowski is cleared to play. What does it feel like to have him cleared and what kind of difference does he make for the team?

LM: Well, it’s a positive. We were all hoping Gronk would have a good recovery and so far he has. We’ll just see where he is, how good he is right now. It’s great to have him out there. He’s a dynamic blocker. He does a great job in the blocking and he’s a big target for Tom [Brady] to get the ball to and he gets open. Anytime you can have Gronk on the field, it’s great.

Q: We all kind of ooh and ahh over his pass catching abilities, but do we kind of undersell his blocking abilities?

LM: I don’t think so. He is a good blocker.

Q: From the outside.

LM: Yeah, he’s a very good blocker, especially for his position. A lot of times the guys that catch the ball as well as he does, they don’t really block at all. They try to get in the way sometimes, but Gronk goes after people and he tries to block the best that he can and most of the time it’s pretty good.

Q: Do you still enjoy the whole process of training camp heading into the season?

LM: At this point, you’d rather get to the games. I understand what training camp is for. It’s needed. It’s necessary, so it’s just one of those things that you have to put yourself through and it makes you better. It gets you in good shape, so it’s necessary.

Q: In terms of team building as well, I bet you have a much better idea in two or three weeks as to what the general makeup and mentality of the team is.

LM: Yeah, definitely. And you learn from the new guys what they’re willing to put themselves through, how good of shape guys are in – when we’re doing drills that are really tough and you’re already tired and you see what they’ve got. It’s always a fun time, but it’s a hard time.

Q: Is it different the first two days when it’s kind of an extension of minicamp and then the third day you finally put the pads on? Is that any more exciting for the linemen because you kind of take a backseat without contact for so long and then you get to go into it on Saturday?

LM: Yeah I think the first few days in shells, I think they’re good. Guys get their legs under them, you get to have a few practices, a lot of running around and stuff, you get your legs and kind of your footwork underneath you, and then you go into pads. I know a lot of guys are always excited for pads – like the quarterbacks and those guys that don’t hit. The linemen, we hit every play in the pads, so it’s a different practice for us. But it’s good. In football you’re hitting, so you might as well hit in practice.

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