FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots’ offensive line will be tested in their all-important third game of the preseason.
This is the game the starters play the longest and Logan Mankins and company will be going up against two of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. Ndamukong Suh registered eight sacks, 20 quarterback hits and 29 quarterback hurries in 16 games last season, while Nick Fairley had 5 1/2 sacks, eight quarterbacks hits and 21 quarterback hurries in 13 games.
“It’s a big challenge,” Mankins said. “That’s the strength of their team I think, personally — their defensive line. They got good tackles and good ends. They put a lot of pressure on you in the run game and the pass game.”
Suh and Fairley have combined for seven quarterback hurries and two quarterback hits in 79 total defensive snaps this preseason. The Lions also added defensive end Ezekiel Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick this offseason.
“Yeah, they’re big physical guys inside,” Mankins said. “Suh’s probably one of the strongest tackles you’re going to find in the league. He’s very athletic for his size, also.”
The Patriots’ starting offensive line has yet to give up a sack this preseason. In fact, Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder and Ryan Wendell have yet to allow a quarterback hit. Tom Brady had nothing but praise for Fairley, Suh and the rest of the Lions who will be gunning for the Patriots’ signal caller.
“Well, they’re all very good,” Brady said. “I mean, they’ve got Fairley and Suh [who] are as good as anybody in the league. They’re tough, physical, hard-nosed, they play for 60 minutes. We’ve had preseason games against them. We played against them on Thanksgiving a few years ago. Talk about talent, they’ve got all the talent in the world, so it’ll be a good test for us.”
Brady has played just two series’ in each of the past two games. He’ll likely play well into the second quarter in Detroit as he works with his new young receivers behind his veteran offensive line.