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Patriots.com News Blitz - 12/28/2011

Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe writes about the eight Patriots players selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl team, which was announced last night. The list includes Tom Brady, Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Vince Wilfork, Andre Carter and Matthew Slater. Seven of the eight were selected as starters, Slater being the only reserve player. The selection is Brady's seventh Pro Bowl. Waters will be making his sixth trip to Honolulu. Welker, Wilfork and Mankins will be making their fourth Pro Bowl appearances. Carter, Slater and Gronkowski will all be making their first Pro Bowl appearances.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald writes about the recent injury to Pro Bowl lineman Logan Mankins. Mankins sprained his MCL early in Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins. Mankins injury will not require surgery but will force him to miss his first game for injury reasons since entering the league in 2005. "(Mankins) is a tough guy, a guy that's never missed a practice or a game," left tackle Matt Light said. "When you see that happen, it's always tough to watch, but I'm sure the cowboy will ride again." Donald Thomas is expected to start in Mankins' place.

Tom Curran of CSNNE.com writes about the progression of left tackle Matt Light as he returns from a leg injury. Light was a surprise inactive in Sunday's win over the Dolphins after a leg injury forced him out of the lineup less than two hours before the game. "We're getting there buddy," Light said Tuesday afternoon. "Just wasn't able to go the other day. Unfortunately. And it's a rough deal, you know. Gameday. Making that decision. We'll work this week and get back out there but it's feeling better."

Ron Borges of the* Boston Herald* writes about the tragic passing of former Boston Patriots' star Houston Antwine. Antwine was 72 and died after a long battle with kidney disease. A member of the Patriots' 50th Anniversary Team , Antwine played with the Boston Patriots from 1961-71. "It didn't take long for him to establish his identity," former Patriots teammate Gino Cappelletti said. "He was so quick and durable. He never missed a game. I can't recall him ever missing a practice. He was all-out all the time. He plugged a lot of holes for us." Antwine's wife Evelyn also passed just hours after her husband.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com takes his weekly look at the Patriots' tackle chart. With a 13 tackle performance against the Dolphins, Jerod Mayo has taken the lead with 96 tackles. Mayo is followed by Devin McCourty who has 87 tackles. On special teams, Matthew Slater leads the team with 17 tackles. Tracy White is close behind with 14. Kyle Arrington is the only player to be on both lists. He is third in both categories with 77 defensive tackles and 10 special teams tackles.

Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal writes about veteran offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Scarnecchia in his 28th year with the Patriots and is the only member of the coaching staff from the pre-Belichick era. In his 12th season as the offensive line coach, Scarnecchia is facing one of his most challenging seasons. The Patriots have seen Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell and Nick McDonald all start at center while rookies Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon have both had to play increased roles due to injuries to Sebastian Vollmer and Matt Light. Scarnecchia will start his eighth different combination on the offensive line this week with Logan Mankins being injured. "Dante does a great job for us and he has since I've been here," Bill Belichick said. "We go back quite a ways — back to the '96 season here. Dante, as I've said many times before, is really just an outstanding coach at every level — whether it's working with experienced players or developing young players or game planning against sophisticated schemes or teaching the most basic techniques to rookies, undrafted players, things like that."

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