How Much Does Patriots' Offensive Line Need Logan Mankins? All season long, the absence of Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins seemed to be no problem for the New England Patriots. On Sunday, it might have caught up with them.

The Patriots were out of rhythm in all kinds of ways against the Chargers but particularly struggled on offense. At one point, the team even subbed out left guard Dan Connolly in favor of Ryan Wendell.

By the time the dust had settled on a narrow 23-20 victory, the Patriots had run for just 51 yards, Tom Brady had thrown for just 159 yards and was sacked four times and the team failed to convert a crucial fourth-down play late in the fourth quarter which was run to left side.

Though the offense was just one of many issues for the Patriots on Sunday, the inefficiency raised the question of how much Mankins is missed.

Given his position of an interior lineman, it’s impossible to try to quantify the impact that his absence has made. Connolly, to the average eye, has done a fine job in pass protection and run blocking. On coaches’ film, it could be a different story, and the team’s substituting Connolly on Sunday doesn’t bode well for the 28-year-old.

Mankins, in his five years with the Patriots, twice made the Pro Bowl and started every game for which he suited up. A first-round draft pick in ’05, Mankins is regarded as one of the best guards in the league.

Fortunately for the Patriots, Mankins is reportedly going to report to the team by Nov. 16 in order to accrue a year of NFL service and earn free agency at the end of the season. Will that be too late? Will Mankins be in game shape? Would the Patriots be better off making a strong push to get him back as soon as possible? Will it even matter?

There’s no question the Patriots would benefit from adding a player of Mankins’ caliber to their offensive line — but how much do they need him?

How much do the Patriots need Logan Mankins? Share your thoughts below.

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