Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Logan Mankins ruled out

The New England Patriots have ruled out star left guard Logan Mankins for today’s game against the Buffalo Bills, and he was previously listed questionable with a hip injury. He was not listed on the injury report last week and is one of the toughest players in the NFL, which makes his absence in Week 4 all the more surprising.

Before it was announced that Mankins would be ruled out against the Bills, the Patriots went ahead and signed center Matt Tennant for the second time this month. They claimed him on the first of September from the New Orleans Saints, where Tennant was a productive player last season.

Solid in pass protection, Tennant gives the Pats an extra body on the inside and will be backing up solid C Ryan Wendell. Donald Thomas will be starting in Mankins place today, and this will be his second start of the year after filling in for Dan Connolly in Week 2 (concussion). Thomas made some mistakes in that game, but he was pretty good overall against Darnell Dockett.

Things will be tougher against Buffalo, so Wendell could feasibly shift to LG if Thomas struggles enough. This would make Tennant the starter, but that’s something I don’t see happening. It’s a possibility, though, and it will also be interesting to see how long Tennant stays with the team.

Stopping the Bills tough defensive tackle duo of Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus just got a lot harder without Mankins, but the trio of Thomas, Wendell, and Dan Connolly is above-average and won’t get embarrassed. However, I don’t anticipate them winning the battle in the trenches.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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