The New England Patriots have two leaders and great veterans of the game on either side of the trenches in left guard Logan Mankins and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, and both were regarded as standouts during training camp today. Although Mankins got the best of Wilfork twice on 1-on-1 drills today as the Patriots opened contact drills, Wilfork was plenty dominant today. Mankins, who is excited for the start of contact drills during training camp, spoke about facing off against Wilfork, and I’ll bet that’s the best practice there is for Mankins as he prepares for a season of facing top-flight DTs like the Buffalo Bills Kyle Williams or the Miami Dolphins DTs.
Mankins said, via CSNNE, “To win against Vince, you have to do everything right in 1-on-1′s because he’s all-go straight forward and he’s a big, strong man. If you don’t do it right he’s just going to push you back, or if you don’t get your hands in the right spot it’s over for you. It makes you really focus on technique.”
Former New York Jets right guard Brandon Moore is also a solid veteran in this league, but it only took one play for him and quarterback Mark Sanchez to be embarrassed by Wilfork on Thanksgiving Day, although 90% of the credit for the “Butt Fumble” goes to Mark Sanchez. The play showed Wilfork’s brute strength, as it seemed like he pushed Moore into Sanchez. But the best example of Wilfork’s incredible strength last season came against the much-talked about play when Wilfork shelled Donald Jones (then with the Buffalo Bills, now a free agent with plenty of interest following his release from the New England Patriots).
When asked about the rookies on the defensive line, Mankins admitted that he didn’t watch them too closely but did go out of his way to praise their effort early on in camp.