By Tom E. Curran
Logan Mankins didn't mince words when asked how hard it will be for the 2011 rookie class to make up lost time if and when the lockout ends. "They're gonna be way behind," Mankins said Monday at the Third Annual Joe Andruzzi and Friends Golf Tournament at TPC Boston. "I remember when I was a rookie, I started DayOne and I still felt likeI didn't know everything. And I was there the whole offseason, the whole training camp, everything. They're gonna be way behind. I guess you'll see the guys who can pick it up really fast."With the lockout almost 70 days old, the toll is worth detailing. Rookie mini camps, passing camps,OTAs andwork with position coaches have already gone by the wayside.And thefact that the only rookies who theoretically could have playbooks are the ones who were drafted in the first round before the lockout was put back in place prior to the second and third round. And all the undrafted free agents - and unrestricted free agents - who would need to learn a new system and the simple logistics of getting around their new city can't do so yet. The Patriots gave their first-round pick, left tackle Nate Solder, Mankins' phone number when the lockout was briefly lifted. Mankins says he's spoken to Solder about dealing with the lockout and uncertainty.
"I'm more than willing to help any young guy," Mankins said. "He's in a tough situation. He doesn't know what's going on right now. He has no coaches to talk to. He's just trying to make it in this league and I'll help him any wayI can." We're probably already at the point where the 2011 season is being affected by the lack of an organized offseason. "The quality of play will be there but it may not start right away," said Andruzzi, the former Patriots' lineman who has dedicated himself to helping fight cancer with his foundation. "How many guys do you see miss training camp and then they get out there and aren't ready or pull something or something like that? You see it year in and year out with different players. "The (offseason work as a rookie with the Packers) was huge," said Andruzzi. "There were two rookie linemen - a first-round pick and I was the other one as a free agent. So I had to work hard. I was in that classroom, studying the playbook, studying film, in the weight room, trying to get that extra edge to get on the field. They're missing learning the playbook, learning the system, and ultimately learning the team."And, as Mankins points out,it's very hard to push yourself to the level necessary without someone prodding you. "There's nothing like having coaches there to push you," he explained. "That will be the hardest part for the guys this year:pushing themselves to the level a coach would push you. You either have it or you don't. You either want to push yourself to get better or you feel you're that good that you don't have to push yourself." Tom E. Curran can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.