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Logan Mankins Conference Call Transcript

New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, September 30, 2013.

Q: How talented is Vince Wilfork and how much of a challenge do you imagine him to be for opposing offenses every week?

LM: Definitely Vince is a big time challenge. He's not only strong and powerful, but he is also quick for a man his size and he's a smart player. He's been playing the game for so long it's easy for him to decipher plays.

Q: As an offensive lineman, do you have an appreciation for what Wilfork does beyond the stats, such as clearing up space for linebackers, collapsing the pocket and others?

LM: Yeah, he takes on double teams so well. He just engulfs linemen. In pass protection, he just pushes the pocket. He is always collapsing inside, and that helps the edge rush. So, he just does so many things for us, and does it so good.

Q: How confident are you that the 'next man up' mantra applies to the defensive line if Wilfork does miss some time?

LM: I don't know Vince's situation yet. I haven't even been in to the stadium today, so I haven't talked to Vince today. I have no idea exactly what is going on. We'll just wait and find out and see what happens.

Q: How encouraging is it that the running game was successful last night and that multiple running backs were able to contribute running the ball?

LM: Last night it was going good. We knew going into that game that we were more physical and we should run the ball. Josh [McDaniels] did a good job of calling the runs and we were excited about it. We wanted to run the ball every single play of the game. The backs ran good. It was good to see some big chunks in the running game last night with LeGarrette [Blount] getting a long one and getting a touchdown out of it. So, that was great and I think the better we run the ball, the better we are going to play.

Q: The first scoring drive where the offense had 10 straight runs and then scored a touchdown, is that what an offensive lineman craves?

LM: Yeah, that was a fun drive for us. We really didn't do any pass blocking, so that was great. We were on the sideline, and I was like 'I don't even know if I can pass block tonight,' because we didn't really have to do it yet. It's always great when you just pound the rock, impose your will, and that is going to break the spirit of the defense if you can keep running it and they can't stop you.

Q: How tough was it mentally to see a guy like Wilfork leave the game with an injury?

LM: Vince is a key player for us. He is one of our best defensive players. He is a captain, and you can't say enough good things about Vince. [Wilfork] missing the majority of the game was tough last night, but our other tackles stepped up. Joe Vellano, he did a good job. I know he had a sack in the game, so he finished the game strong for us.

Q: Is there a mental letdown whenever someone like that goes down on offense or defense?

LM: Not so much. Not during the game. You have too much going on. I've played in games where our biggest star, Tom Brady, went, and we rallied together to win the game. You don't have time to dwell on what is going on in the games. Sure, if we find out that Vince is hurt really bad, we will all be disappointed. But during the game, you don't have time. You start doing that and you are going to get your butt kicked.

Q: How has the offense progressed this season?

LM: Well, we're scoring more points, we're moving the ball better, running the ball better, passing it better. I think third down is better, red area is getting better, so just all the way around we are improving, and that's what we want to do. Every year, Bill [Belichick] wants us to improve as the year goes on, and I think that Jets game was so bad we had no choice but to improve. But, hey, we've gotten better every week, so that is encouraging.

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