Mankins practicing 'everywhere' this week

Mankins practicing 'everywhere' this week
December 18, 2013, 3:45 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

FOXBORO -- On Wednesday morning, Bill Belichick lauded starting left guard Logan Mankins for being able to play any of the five positions on the offensive line.

The player's response: "I feel pretty comfortable in one . . . I've played two of them in games, [and] I've been the backup center a bunch of times while we've had guys hurt. I feel like I could do all of them if I was needed to."

He may have to make a move this weekend.

Left tackle Nate Solder suffered a head injury against Miami. He was not spotted at practice Wednesday and his game status is in question for Sunday's game in Baltimore. If he can't play, Mankins could slide over to fill in as he did against the Dolphins.

Where did Mankins practice Wednesday? "Everywhere."

Though he is capable at tackle, Mankins has played guard in New England for nine years. 

"Scheme-wise, it's not that hard," Mankins said of moving to tackle. "I know all the plays at our position, so that's not too tough. But overall, the angles, the footwork, that kind of thing. I have to process that pretty fast.

"[There's] a lot of different angles. You're going against faster guys. I'm used to the big powerful guys and now I've got speed guys on the edge. It's just something I had to get used to and learn on the fly there [last] Sunday."

Protecting Tom Brady's blind side from the Ravens is always a chore; having anyone but New England's starter do the job could be a nightmare.

Mankins mentioned the difference and importance of speed and footwork at tackle and he'll have to be on point Sunday. Baltimore will be sending 5-foot-11 outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (9.5 sacks) after Brady. Where the long-striding Solder could make up ground in a few paces, Mankins may struggle to catch the speedy defender in space.

Or he may play guard. It all hinges on whether or not Solder can go.

"I don't know what our plan is this week," said Mankins. "We have a bunch of different options and we'll hopefully get it figured out before Sunday."