It was only a walkthrough, so let's not read too much into this, but defensive end Chandler Jones (missed last two games) and left guard Logan Mankins (missed last three games) returned to practice today.

Does this mean that the injury riddled Patriots will finally get their best offensive lineman and best pass rusher back to face the best team they've faced all the season?

It's time for the most bad ass offensive lineman in the NFL to
come back. At least it's time we start praying he does.
Evidently not. Still, it's a positive sign that they are at least close to coming back. This isn't the first walkthrough the Patriots have hosted since both have been injured, so there's some progress we're seeing.

The tell tale sign will be if they practice tomorrow.

Of the two, Logan Mankins might be the most needed. The Patriots offensive line has filled in admirably in the games without Mankins. They had given up zero sacks in the two games leading up to last week with their All-Pro guard on the sideline.

However, the Patriots faced some of the worst pass rushing teams in that time - the Colts (24th in sacks) and the Jets (29th). When they faced a team that ranks in the top 10 in sacks, the Miami Dolphins (7th), you saw the result. Four sacks of Tom Brady and a lot more hits.

The Houston Texans, obviously, are one of the top defensive teams in the league. They have a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in JJ Watt who is second in the league with 15.5 sacks. As a team the Texans are third in the league in with 36 sacks.

Let's not even get started on the San Francisco 49ers whom the Patriots will face the week after.

Donald Thomas has done well, but it's time to start hoping that Logan Mankins comes back.

Michael Saver 12/05/2012 06:45:00 PM Edit

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