Mankins, O-line always prepared to speed things up

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Mankins, O-line always prepared to speed things up

FOXBORO -- There are a few guarantees in life, one of which being that the Patriots will go no-huddle at some point on game days.

You know it, I know it, and the Ravens know it.

New England's ability to speed things up is one of its biggest reasons for continued success on the offensive end. That, and some guy named Tom Brady. The two go hand-in-hand.

But while Brady is busy calling out plays, it's on the offensive line and rest of the offense to be all-ears in order to be on the same page.

"We have words for everything," Logan Mankins said. "So, the play is run, and then Tom will make a word -- he calls out some words and some of them mean the play and some of them don't. So, we just have to know which ones are live and which ones are not."

It's more than just listening though. The entire offense -- including the offensive line -- has to be physically ready for the rapid pace. That's done between games, during practices and in the weight room.

"Well, you know it is tough sometimes on the conditioning," Mankins admitted. "But we're pretty conditioned for an offensive line, if you would call us conditioned at our position. But yeah, a lot of time we catch them off guard; they're not lined up. A lot of times that works to our benefit, sometimes it doesn't. Because guys aren't where you expect them to be or where they should be, so you get confused a little, but I think for the most part we've done a pretty good job of getting everyone in the right direction on the right guys. So when you do catch them off-guard it works out pretty good sometimes."

But the hurry-up style of play isn't welcomed with open arms by some teams and players around the league. Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo made headlines last Sunday when he criticized the Patriots for playing that way.

Ayanbadejo tweeted, "New England does some suspect stuff on offense. Can't really respect it. Comparable to a cheap shot B4 a fight."

Then, "Are you watching the game Pats vs. Texans? If so you see the hurry snap offense catch em B4 they set up. It's a gimmick."

Ayanbadejo didn't stop there though. He called out the Patriots for Spygate as well.

That led one reporter on Thursday to ask Mankins if comments regarding Spygate, such as the one Ayanbadejo made, bothered him?

"No, that was a long time ago," Mankins said.

"It doesn't get under your skin at all?" the reporter followed up.

"No, but you are," Mankins said with a smile.

And on Sunday, the Patriots hope to get under the skin of the Ravens any way they can and as fast as possible.

Brady: Preseason reps help you adapt to the speed of the game

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Brady: Preseason reps help you adapt to the speed of the game

FOXBORO -- It's clear that Tom Brady wants to play at some point this preseason. What's a little less clear is what he thinks he stands to gain from preseason game reps in August when he won't be playing meaningful snaps until October. 

After explaining why he missed Thursday's preseason game with the Bears, which he was scheduled to start, Brady was asked on Tuesday if he feels as though he needs game reps before matching up with the Browns in Week 5.

"I don’t think any of them hurt," he said. "I think just do the best you can do. We’re preparing a lot of guys to get ready to play. I fit into that, but so do a lot of other guys. I’m just taking the advice of coach [Bill Belichick], and whatever he wants to do. I’m going to do everything I can to be ready to go when I am called upon. That’s what my responsibility is so that’s what I’m preparing to do."

If the only benefit of having Brady play against the Panthers in the third preseason game amounts to, "Well, couldn't hurt..." then it would come as some surprise if Belichick opted to play Brady anyway. Because it could hurt. It could hurt quite a bit should something flukey happen and Brady ends up worse off than he was after his recent run-in with a pair of scissors. 

Former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Mike Lombardi, told WEEI recently that Brady needs to work in a preseason game before serving his four-game suspension. Why? 

"The speed of the game changes," Lombardi said. "You have practices against the Bears, but it’s kind of simulated and controlled. I think Tom wants to get the flow of the game . . . Because it’s the third preseason game, Jimmy [Garoppolo] is probably going to play as much into the third quarter as possible, and then you don’t want to put Tom out there with a lot of other guys that perhaps won’t make the team. The second game was kind of a game where he should have played a little bit to get his feet wet. He’s not going to play the fourth game against the New York Giants. That’s going to be Jacoby Brissett’s game. 

"I think [the Bears game] was the time, and that’s why [Brady] was going to play. Obviously something happened with the injury and that’s why he didn’t play . . . I know Tom needs to play in the preseason. He’s not just going to go waltz onto the field and feel the game is going to come right to him."

It feels as though Brady, after 16 years in the NFL, would be able to adapt to the speed of the game relatively quickly with or without preseason reps. But Brady expressed an opinion similar to that of Lombardi when asked about the difference between preseason snaps and practice snaps. He's seen plenty of the latter against the Bears, Saints and his own teammates.

"Well, I think you’re getting hit so just the space awareness, guys around you and ball security and things like that," Brady said. "For whatever, the last 30 practices, quarterbacks aren’t touched. Just standing there in the pocket, holding the ball knowing that they’re coming to get the ball and knock it out of your hands, hitting the ground, those types of things and so forth are important.

"You just have to feel things out, and the game is really the only place to get it because it’s regular speed. You don’t know what’s coming. We prepare, but we don’t obviously get to walk through the looks that we’re going to get. When you get out there you just have to make good decisions and go play quarterback the way that I’ve always tried to do."

Maybe it's to adapt to the pace of the game. Maybe it's to be faced with the real threat of contact. Maybe it's just because he can't stand not to be on the field when the Patriots are playing. Either way, Brady obviously hopes that he'll play on Friday night in Carolina. 

The question now is are the benefits great enough that Belichick will allow him to?

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

With Wright and Rodriguez set to return, Sean McAdam joins SNC to discuss whether Tuesday’s game against the Rays will be the last start for Clay Buchholz.