Monday, December 13, 2010

Is It Just Me... Or is Logan Mankins the REAL MVP this Year?

As I was reading the Boston Globe's sport page this weekend, it dawned on me. Logan Mankins is the reason that the Patriots have gone from a good to dominant team in the NFL. After sitting out for seven games, he returned (and started) during the Cleveland Browns game. It's no coincidence that that was the last game that the Patriots lost.

New England Patriots All Pro Guard, Logan Mankins
I know that Kyle Flaherty will back me up on this but just like starting pitching going an average of seven innings versus six can have a profound impact on the bullpen and the other starters, a great offensive lineman (especially a guard -- right or left) can have an equally great impact on all aspects of the game. For one, Mankins, a two time pro-bowler, provides better blocking protection for the running game which of course makes passing easier. And then there's the passing which is up about 2 yards/catch on average in games where Mankins starts. While a lot of that has to do with the receivers (and backs) continuing to have monster YAC numbers, anecdotally, I know this also has something to do with the extra 1-2 seconds Brady has in the pocket to look downfield at his 2nd and 3rd reads. And because the offense is now spending more time on the field, a well-rested defense is also looking better.

Yes, part of this has to do with the emergence of the law firm aka Green-Ellis stepping up his game. And it doesn't hurt to have a second "possession receiver" in the form of Deion Branch. The growth of tight ends Hernandez and Gronkowski as they shake off their rookie jitters also contributes. But at the end of the day, I think many of the commentators and prognosticators have overlooked the importance of having one of the best right guards in Patriots history (second only to John Hannah of course) back in the fold.


Image courtesy

1 comment:

Kyle Flaherty said...

I, of course, have a special place in my heart for OL. They are the most critical part of a team, yet nobody ever talks about them until they make a mistake. The Patriots turned it up a notch after week six, and not surprisingly because Mankins returned.

But it's not just his talent as an OL, it's also how he allows the rest of the line to move into their natural positions. Everyone on that line is now working better together. Just watch how Vollmer and Connelly get to the second level now. See how Light is making crack down blocks while pulling. I mean it is an unreal difference in the team.

And I haven't even talked about how much protection Brady gets.

These are the guys that absolutely make a team a contender and eventually a champion. If the Pats do what I think they might Logan Mankins is my MVP.

Thanks Aaron for respecting the OL.