The New England Patriots have proved the critics wrong, reestablishing themselves as a dominant force in the AFC with their recent five-game winning streak.
Conspicuous by his absence is former offensive line mainstay Logan Mankins, who was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the Pats made it clear they weren't going to break the bank to retain him.
Tampa's seven losses so far this season seem to be weighing on Mankins, especially in light of the fact that he never lost seven games in any of the nine regular seasons he played with the Patriots.
"It’s a grind right now," Mankins said. “We’re not where we want to be and the only way I know to get out of that is to keep working hard, keep fighting on Sunday. I was raised to where you always fight to get back up. That’s what I’m trying to do.’"
While Tampa has a core of young talent that could blossom at any time, Mankins will have to be exceedingly patient if he is to remain with the Bucs for the long haul.
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