Mankins looks to lead emotionally-charged O-line vs. Ravens

Mankins looks to lead emotionally-charged O-line vs. Ravens
January 17, 2013, 7:13 pm
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FOXBORO -- As if you didn't already know, there's a lot on the line Sunday.

A chance -- for some, maybe a last chance -- to go to the Super Bowl is a big deal. It's a dream come true for every player on the field and every coach on the sidelines.

For that reason, emotions will run high -- higher than they normally do. And when you're talking about the Patriots and Ravens, well, let's just say we'd like to be in those pregame huddles.

Tom Brady. Vince Wilfork. Logan Mankins. Ray Lewis. Terrell Suggs. Anquan Boldin. The list goes on.

"I think we're two emotional teams, so stuff happens out there and you just always have to be smart about it," Mankins said. "Any penalty just hurts your team, so you could take it a little ways you just have to make sure you don't take it too far."

Mankins, particularly, is a player that's never been afraid to bring the nasty. He's the grit of the team's offensive line. You'll see Mankins get into it on the field with the opposing team on numerous occasions. Mild-mannered off the field, something changes when he's out playing.

He gets angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

"I don't know, I've always been asked that question," Mankins said calmly when asked to explain the difference in himself on game days and non-game days. "It's just who I am, I guess. That's the only way I know how to play, and I'm going to keep doing it until they tell us we can't."

Nate Solder is in his second year in the league, and while he doesn't seem to have that same nasty edge as Mankins, there's plenty of time to develop one. Meanwjile, he's learning a lot from the four-time All-Pro.

"He's great. He's taught me a lot," Solder said of Mankins. "He and every one of the guys I've played next to this year. We've been able to work well together. That's a testament to Scar offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and all the other coaches who have prepared us."

The Ravens defense will bring it, no holds barred, on Sunday. The Patriots offensive line will have to fight that fire with their own fire, and Mankins will undoubtedly lead the way.

"I'll say this: When he plays, he plays really passionate," Solder said. "He has a lot of energy and I think that really permeates the whole group."