By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
FOXBORO The days when the Detroit Lions were every NFL team's personal pinata appear to be a thing of the past.
One of the biggest reasons for that?
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the Defensive Rookie of the Year last season.
The New England Patriots will have their hands full with the entire Lions defensive line this week. But no player presents a bigger challenge to the Pats than Suh, who was also chosen as a Pro Bowl starter -- the first Lions rookie to be selected as a starter since Barry Sanders -- after racking up 66 tackles and 10 sacks.
"That's going to happen when you play against good players," said Patriots guard Logan Mankins. "They're going to get you sometimes. You have to be ready for it, do the right things and be in the right position or guys with that talent level, they're going to take advantage of it."
Mankins, like most Patriots players, sees plenty of room for improvement.
"Watching the film, I know me personally, I need to continue working on my techniques," Mankins said.
Strength is certainly a bonus for an offensive lineman. Even more significant, Mankins believes, is being technically sound.
"For offensive lineman, the main thing is technique," Mankins said. 'When you're out there and your feet are jumping around and your hands aren't hitting where you want them to, that's something you need to get corrected or it's going to catch up with you down the road."
But those issues are not unusual for this time of the year.
After all, the preseason is about working out the kinks before they become regular season issues.
And while there are several ways in which the Patriots offensive line will be challenged in the preseason, this week's matchup with the Lions is as good a test as they'll have.
"They're very good across the front," Mankins said. "In our O-line room, we all know we need to make improvements. This will be a good week to see if we made any."