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Logan Mankins Press Conference Transcript

Patriots Guard Logan Mankins addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, January 15, 2014.

Q:You guys ran the ball fairly well throughout the year but it seems like something may have changed a little bit between that Miami game in Week 15 and the Baltimore game in Week 16. Is it something that you guys saw one week to the next? Something about Baltimore specifically? Was it something you guys looked at yourselves and saw something you were capable of? Did something change at all between those two weeks that has maybe led to the success you have had in the three games since?

LM: I think we have blocked better. I think the backs have run better. It is just a combination of everything. It is not just the line, it's the tight ends, the fullback. On those big, long runs you need receivers blocking. So it is just a total group effort and I think we have all done a better job.

Q:You've been here a while. You were on the team that started 18-0. How would you compare this team with so many first-year guys and people say maybe on paper that it is not as talented as some of those other teams? How do you manage to have success even though you don't have the track record individually with players?

LM: As you said, on paper, but the games aren't played on paper they are played on the field and it is always a total group effort and you need everyone working together and we've got guys that make plays at crucial times. Guys that play well together. Guys that know their roles. Guys that fit the system well. When you put all those guys together you can have good success.

Q:Can you speak to the importance of a Wednesday practice in terms of setting the tone for the week? Is Wednesday maybe a more difficult day for a guy to miss or more challenging for a player to make up than a practice later in the week?

LM: I don't know. Wednesday is very important though. It sets the tone for your week. If you have a crappy Wednesday you have to make some stuff up on Thursday so it is always good to start the week off right and stay on track so you're not trying to make up other plays or install other things. Wednesday is very important to us.

Q:Can you talk about LeGarrette Blount and kind of what he means to this team and how far he has come this season?

LM: LeGarrette, he's been great. He's been a great teammate for us, a great locker room guy, fun to be around, and then you see the production he has had. Especially here lately he's been a force out there and nothing gets us happier than to see him play that way. Hopefully he can keep it up.

Q:Can a running game get on a hot streak where you guys can feel like no one can stop you?

LM: I hope so. I don't know. Those guys across the line are getting paid too and they are pretty good players so you're always going to run into a tough opponent and I think this week is going to be a tough one. We're going to try and do our best and we'll see what happens.

Q:Less than two months ago you saw these guys. Does it feel like both teams are pretty different, both your offense and their defense?

LM: Yeah. Well, when you look at them defensively they lost a few guys so they are a little bit different but their scheme is the same. I think our scheme is pretty much the same but we always tweak it here and there so we'll see what happens.

Q:Just wanted to ask you a little bit about the running game of late and the contributions that you have been getting from the tight ends. You lose a guy like Rob Gronkowski, we all know what he means to the this offense, especially the passing game. The little things that he did in the running game too seem to go unappreciated. How have these guys stepped up to help fill in?

LM: Definitely. I think that the game with the way it is now no one ever talks about a blocking tight end. It is how many catches they have. The tight ends on our team have been vital to our running success and they have done a great job. They don't get much credit for it but you're never going to get to the edge if your tight end can't block and there are a lot of plays that we run right behind those guys so they've got to do a good job for our backs to have success.

Q:I remember when you first came in here as a rookie and you had your introductory press conference and you answered with brief comments. You were very much a rookie and now you've been around. Do you consider yourself to be a leader of this group of offensive linemen and what is the chemistry like?

LM: We get along good. Linemen usually do. We hang out a lot together. We do a lot of things together. We enjoy being around each other. Am I the leader of the line? I don't know, you can ask those guys. I know we are a tight knit group. We always pull for each other. We enjoy being around each other.

Q:When you came here in 2005, after the string of three Super Bowls in four years, you've been an All Pro, been to Pro Bowls, you've had a contract situation, you came back. It's been a pretty amazing ride for you with this team. Can you reflect just for a minute on all that has happened in the eight or nine years that you've been here and how important it is for you as you've come a step away from your third Super Bowl appearance?

LM: It has been a long ride. When you say nine years it seems like a long time but it has flown by. That is the one thing about this game, you can say you are in the game a long time but it feels like it's gone like this. It has been fun. I've enjoyed it. I just hope it continues for a few more years and hopefully a successful one this year.

Q:Talk about if you would, the ability to run on the road and maybe how challenging it is as an offensive line to deal with the noise that you'll be facing at Mile High?

LM: The noise is tough but we've played in loud stadiums all year, sometimes we do a good job with it and sometimes not such a good job. Sunday will be tough. That place will be rocking. Their fans will be excited. It comes down to discipline, communication, all those things put together. We are usually pretty good at that though.

Q:Is the noise more difficult run blocking, pass blocking, or does it matter?

LM: It doesn't matter. The noise doesn't matter once it comes down to blocking. The noise just limits your communication.

Q:We talk about what Peyton Manning does at the line, how he gets them in the right situation. Can you talk about what your guy does, because I don't think enough people talk about that? How much does he provide in that area?

LM: Oh yeah, Tom [Brady], he does a great job of that. He might not be as animated or have as many calls as Peyton does but 99 percent of the time he gets us in the right check and we end up having a successful play because of the check that he makes.

Q:Just give me a sense of what you guys prefer, if you are dominating and having success in the run game or if you guys are dominating and having success in the pass game? What kind of does more for you guys?

LM: As long as we're scoring points we're happy. You can't win if you don't score. If we're throwing the ball well we're happy, if we're running the ball well we're happy as long as we score.

Q:I think a lot of us are really surprised over the last two weeks of just how well LeGarrette Blount has played. Are you guys just as surprised as everybody else is? Is there anything earlier in the year that you saw that showed you the kind of ability that he has shown over the last two weeks?

LM: I think for the linemen I think his speed has surprised us but we saw that a couple times earlier in the season. It is just opportunities. He has gotten enough opportunities here lately and the holes have been pretty good. He does a great job of having patience and finding the hole first of all. He doesn't over run it. He doesn't cut it too soon. He gives you time to get your block made and he hits it going forward. The most impressive thing is the way he's just dragging people. No one is just arm tackling. He is not going down with just one guy. He is always gaining yards, even after contact, which is very impressive. It is great to have a guy doing that.

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