Mankins expects blitz from Texans

In his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI, Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins touched on the style of play the team is expecting from the Texans' defense on Sunday. Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is known for bringing the heat on opposing quarterbacks.

“He’s an aggressive coach, he likes to blitz. They give you some different looks [and] they’re going to give different blitzes,” Mankins said on the “Mut and Merloni” program.

“One thing about his defenses, they always play hard. He always gets his guys to play with a lot of effort and that’s how Houston’s defense plays. Those guys are going 100 miles an hour out there.”

This is a matchup of strength against strength, as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is one of the NFL's most effective passers against the blitz.

As one of the team’s captains, Mankins echoed a similar theme to coach Bill Belichick and Brady in explaining that the team’s experience in 2010 is a good lesson for players this week. It’s a topic Belichick and players have embraced over the last two days.

“That’s a learning experience for us, to look back and see that we beat a [Jets] team [in the regular season] and in the playoffs get beat by them. Hopefully we can change that this time,” Mankins said. “We’re definitely not taking this team lightly. We know they are very good.

“Human nature makes you want to think that way,” Mankins said later, when asked how a player works to keep their edge after blowing a team out in the regular season. “[But] if you’ve been around long enough and played enough teams multiple times in a season, you know the second time is always tough. They know you. You know them. They’re going to know their tendencies, and you know theirs. The second time around is usually a dogfight and it’s always a lot closer than the first game.”

Plus, it helps that Belichick is delivering that message.

“Bill, he’s great at serving up humble pie,” Mankins said. “I don’t think Bill has overlooked any team ever.”