Mankins: Mental toughness needed to overcome Seattle atmosphere

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Mankins: Mental toughness needed to overcome Seattle atmosphere

FOXBORO -- If we know anything at all about Sunday's game between the Patriots and the Seahawks, it's that CenturyLink Field is going to be as loud as any stadium in the history of the sport.

For New Englanders who have never been to Seattle to witness a Seahawks game first-hand, all you have is the good word of the Patriots players who have played there before.

And veteran Vince Wilfork wants you to believe him when he says it's abnormally loud.

"Probably Seattle. Seattle is probably one of the loudest stadiums around," said Wilfork before Thursday's practice at Gillette Stadium. "And you know what? It shows. The offsides penalties and stuff. It shows."

Wilfork and the rest of the Patriots defense won't have it quite as bad as New England's offense though. Seahawks fans will want their quarterback to work under a much less hectic environment than Tom Brady.

So, what do offensive players think of the noise level in Seattle?

"It's a tough place to play," said Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins on Thursday. "Been there before. It's super loud. They have a good defense, so it's going to be tough.

"I've been in some loud ones. It's one of the loudest. Last time I was there, their team wasn't that good. They were out of the playoffs already and that place was still rocking. So, they've got good support out there."

For all the talk about New England's lightning-quick no-huddle offense, the Seahawks' fan base hopes to throw a wrench into those plans with their noise volume, making the Patriots' communication with each other that much more difficult especially on the offensive line.

"A lot of it's mental toughness," said Mankins. "Just being able to focus through that. It takes a lot of communication. You can't just look over and say it. You've got to scream it to the guy next to you, so he can hear you. Just making sure everyone's on the same page, when you can't verbally get on the same page all the time."

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

FOXBORO -- The highly-anticipated first Patriots injury report of the week was released on Wednesday afternoon, and it was fairly predictable. 

Both injured quarterbacks were active but limited in their practice participation, the report indicated. That comes as little surprise as both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were spotted throwing passes early in Wednesday's practice. Neither appeared to be experiencing any significant discomfort as they made their warm-up throws. 

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) were also limited. Gronkowski admitted that the team was taking it slow with him in his first game back on the field last week -- he played just 14 snaps in New England's win over Houston -- but he said on Wednesday that he hoped to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”

Agreed.  

Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”