New England Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, December 30, 2009.
Q: Do you enter the season with making the Pro Bowl as a personal goal?
LM: No. If you play good throughout the season, it usually takes care of itself. You're just worried about yourself and helping the team. And then if you do a good enough job, people will recognize it.
Q: Do you think you played that much better this year compared to last year when you just barely didn't make it?
LM: You know, I think a little bit. There were a few stretches there last year where I wasn't too happy with the way I was playing. But this year I've been pretty happy with everything except a few snaps here and there and a few penalties.
Q: What are some of the things you've improved on from last year?
LM: I think being more consistent. I think I focused more on my technique and I think I'm playing better, being more patient on blocking.
Q: Can you talk about the offensive line's pride at the sack total this year?
LM: Yeah, well, the last four games have been pretty good for us. We haven't given up too many pressures and no sacks, so we're happy about that. That's what we strive to do every game. We want no pressures and no sacks, but we know the other team is getting paid, too, and they have good players and good rushers. The last four weeks we've just come out on top in that situation.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out you were selected to the Pro Bowl?
LM: Well, I was happy. I think you're always happy when something like that happens and you never know if you're going to make it or if you're not. You're always pretty excited that your peers recognize you, and the coaches, and the fans. And it's a great honor. Not everyone gets to go, so it's pretty special. Plus, you get a bonus; that's always nice.
Q: Do you think that's more the case for an offensive lineman where it's not really a stat-based position?
LM: Yeah, there're no stats really to judge us on. Probably not too many fans go on the site and vote for linemen. So a lot of it comes down to the guys you play against and what they see you do and all the coaches that watch you all year and how they vote, so I think a lot of it comes down to the players and coaches.
Q: Who are the standards for guards when you look around the league, aside from yourself obviously?
LM: You know, I don't know. I watch a lot of guards during the week, so guys I like to watch ... I like to watch Kris Dielman. He also made it from San Diego. He plays a lot like me, hitting people after the whistle and playing dirty. But I enjoy watching guys like that. Plus I've gotten to know him a little, so I like him, too. There're a lot of good players throughout the league and there are probably players that deserve to make it, too, but didn't and they might get their shot down the road.
Q: Oustide of Dielman, anyone else?
LM: I don't know. There's not too many.
Q: How much do you and the rest of the Patriots, as a team, owe the other teams battling the Texans for a playoff spot to give them your best effort this week and do you have any comment about the Colts decision to pull their starters?
LM: To start with us, I don't think we owe them anything. We put ourselves in this position and that was by winning games throughout the year. If they didn't want to have to count on us to win games they shouldn't have lost games. I think we were in the same position last year where we needed a team to lose and that was no one's fault but our own. Whenever you're counting on other teams to win for you, you're in a bad situation. And to comment on the Colts, I really don't have any comment on them. I'm just really worried about the Texans this week and the Colts, they can do whatever they want to do.
Q: Have you watched any film of John Hannah over the years?
LM: Not so much watched film, I've seen highlights on TV of him. But John was a special player from what I've heard. Dante [Scarnecchia], my offensive line coach, was here when John played, so he's told me a lot about John and I've talked to John a lot. I don't think anybody has anything bad to say about the way that guy played football. He was a special player.
Q: Did he tell you anything?
LM: No, I think he knew that I knew how to play football when I got here and he just let me do what my coaches tell me to do and what I think I need to do. He says he likes the way I play, so the way I play must be the right way if John likes it.
Q: You haven't missed a game in your career since you've been here. What would you attribute that durability and what does that mean to you?
LM: A little luck. I haven't gotten rolled up too many times or any unlucky plays where someone takes me out, so luck and just hard work. I want to be out there. I feel it's my job to be here and playing and I want to be on the field. I don't want to ever have to watch a game. I'm going to do what it takes to be out there and hopefully I can be out there every game.
Q: Vince Wilfork was just talking about his contract situation and how it weighed upon him early. You are in a similar situation. Has that played out in your mind at all and where are you with that?
LM: Yeah, you think about it. You see other guys signing extensions and you wish you were one of those guys with an extension, but it is what it is I guess. You will have to ask the powers that be around here if I'm going to get one or not because I don't know.
Q: [On wanting to keep the offensive line together]
LM: Yeah, we've been here for quite awhile now and I'd like to continue it. They're good guys in the locker room, on the field and off the field. So we've won a lot of games around here together and I'd like to keep us together.
Q: Do you feel bad you won't be getting a free trip to Hawaii?
LM: It's alright. We went to Hawaii a few years ago and my wife got to cross that one off the list. And now I get a free trip to Miami, so she can cross that one off the list, too.
Q: Will you play in both games if you make it to the Super Bowl?
LM: Hell no. Yeah, I've played in the Pro Bowl, so I'll give that one up to try to win another Super Bowl. That would be a lot more special.
Q: Is the emotion of going to the Pro Bowl this time any different?
LM: I think after just missing it last year, I was the first alternate, so after missing it last year and getting back this year it feels pretty good to be back.
Q: Did Dante Scarnecchia say anything special to you?
LM: He told me congratulations and that I earned it and deserved it. Dante, he doesn't say too much, unless it's really needed. I know he's proud of me, so that feels good.
Q: The first time you made it, it was your third year, now it's your fifth year. Do you feel like you're the kind of guy that other guys look at and emulate on that line?
LM: I think so. We've got a lot of older guys that have been here for awhile, so I think don't think there's really one guy that leads the group. We all lead by different ways. Some guys talk a little bit more and some guys go out and grind it out. I think the younger guys need to be spoken to and see the older guys that have been here for a long time. They need to see our work ethic. Just because we've been here we don't just go out there and jog around. We put in the work and do what it takes to last. And I think that's the best way to lead young guys.