"That's good to hear."
It's safe to say that Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankinswas speaking for his teammates, coaches, and Patriots fans alike when he spoke those words today. It was in response to the news that the NFL will not suspend his next-door neighbor on the o-line, All-Pro left tackle Matt Light, for throwing punches during a fracas in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's game in Miami.
Mankins was in the middle of answering a reporters question about a possible Light suspension when he was given the news.
"We need him, and he's going to have to play a good game," Mankins added.
"Honestly, that matter's a closed deal now," Light said moments later when he arrived at his locker. But he did elaborate.
"It was what it was. I'm not happy with what my actions were. I don't think that that was the way to go. In my mind, it's a closed deal now. They've made a decision on it and we're going to move forward and get ready to play a good Steelers team. I think that's where everybody's concentration should be, and that's definitely where mine is at this point."
The Patriots are going to need their full complement of pass protectors to ward off Pittsburgh's formidable sack tandem of LaMarr Woodleyand James Harrison.
"They're about as good at doing it as anybody," Light said of the Steelers pass rush. "Over the years, it's always been a certain style down in Pittsburgh. They've always been a physical team. I think back to my rookie year, going there and playing those guys, it was always about playing a physical team that can move around a lot and they hit you at every angle.
"For us up front, it's just a matter of recognizing what they do, trying to get a hat on a hat. This is going to be a really big challenge for us offensively. They're very unique in how they play their defenses. With the personnel they have, those guys create a lot of issues for us."
"Their interior guys are fairly good pass-rushers," Mankins continued, "but you see where all the numbers are. The two edge guys [Woodley and Harrison] have over 20 sacks between the two of them. That's where a lot of the production is."
The Steelers inside 'backers, Larry Footeand James Farrior, are no slouches either, Mankins was quick to point out.
"Oh yeah, their inside guys are big, physical guys that are going to push the pocket, collapse it, so the edge guys can get in there."
"It's a one-on-one battle with each one of those guys," Light concluded, "because they're all pretty good at what they do."
A one-on-one battle, in the figurative sense, of course.
Wednesday locker room/practice notebook
The Patriots practiced outside on a somewhat soggy field following Tuesdays heavy rains in the New England area.
It was a chilly day, with temps in the 40s, but head coach Bill Belichickwas still wearing his cut-off sweatpants and just a headband to keep his ears warm. As he walked up the steps to the practice field, he must've read the media's minds, because he smiled and said, "I don't know how many more days of these shorts we're gonna get." The group got a good laugh out of it.
Three players were absent from the start of practice: WR Kelley Washington, DL Richard Seymour, and LB Adalius Thomas.
RB LaMont Jordanreturned after an extended absence due to a calf injury.
The team handed out five black practice-player-of-the-week jerseys. RB Kevin Faulkgot one, presumably for mimicking Dolphins RB Ronnie Brownin the Wildcat formation last week. OL Russ Hochstein, LB Gary Guyton, LB Vince Redd, and practice squad safety Mark Dillardreceived the others.
On-again-off-again punter Tom Maloneis back with the Patriots. He was signed to the practice squad today.
The Pats will be working on Thanksgiving, but there will be no media access to practice. Our updates will resume on Friday here on Patriots.com.