|08.06.09 at 6:31 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — According to Patriots’ Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio, the team and nose tackle Vince Wilfork’s representatives are still talking about a contract extension.
The 6-foot-2, 325-pound Pro Bowl nose tackle is entering the final year of a six-year contract he signed as a rookie, and has stated publicly he would like a new deal.
“Vince [Wilfork] has been a good player for us in our system,” Caserio said Thursday in a press conference at Gillette Stadium. “He has been productive, he has had some success here, and we want to have him around here. Both parties are working on both sides to try to get something resolved.”
Wilfork’s is scheduled to make a salary of $2.2 million this year. But in an offseason where Albert Haynesworth commanded a $100 million deal with the Redskins, he remains relatively underpaid. Wilfork is a quality nose tackle in a league where more and more teams are switching to a 3-4 defense, which could make him a serious commodity if he is allowed to hit the open market.
A first-round pick out of Miami in 2004, the 27-year-old Wilfork has started 67 of the 77 regular season games he’s played in while with New England, including every regular season and postseason game the Patriots have played in since the 2006 playoffs. He was an All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl in 2007, was named a defensive captain the following year and finished second on the team in 85 tackles in 2008.
Prior to his arrival, New England struggled for consistency at the nose tackle position, with the only real success coming when the Patriots retained the services of the massive Ted Washington for a single season in 2003.
“He has been a productive player in our system,” Caserio said of Wilfork. “How he stacks up relative to other players in the league may or may not come into play, but we know in our system he’s been a productive player and some of those other players, you don’t know how they would fit in your system.
“He has been a good player for us and he has been productive, so he is a good player, and I think we are cognizant of how he stacks up the league. He’s a good player.”
Despite the uncertainty, Wilfork has said several times that his focus will not change, and thus far, he has stayed true to his word. He has been on the field for every training camp practice save the two on Wednesday because his wife gave birth, and has looked like his usual impressive self.
“I will not let that (the negotiations) interfere with what I have going on in the field,” Wilfork said earlier in camp. “If I’m healthy, I’ll practice.”
|08.06.09 at 6:29 pm ET|
Here’s the full release the Patriots just sent out on the acquisition of Derrick Burgess:
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|08.06.09 at 5:56 pm ET|
Back in May when talk of Derrick Burgess-to-the-Patriots first surfaced, I spoke with a handful of football insiders who talked about what kind of impact he could have on the New England defense. Here’s a portion of that blog post, which can be found in its entirety here.
Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders and Brian Baldinger, an analyst for the NFL Network, agree that while Derrick Burgess isn’t the same player he was back in 2005 or 2006 when he had a combined 27 sacks in Oakland, if the Patriots plug him into the right scheme, the 30-year-old could still do plenty of damage as an outside linebacker in New England’s 3-4 defense.
“The resume is on tape — he’s got good quickness and good, explosive power,” Baldinger said. “That’s exactly what you need in a pass rusher.”
Burgess has managed 38½ sacks in his last four years with the Raiders, including a league-high 16 in 2005. But Tanier, a contributing editor to FootballOutsiders.com and co-author of the Pro Football Prospectus, believes that the wear and tear of playing so many defensive snaps the last few years for a subpar team like the Raiders has taken a toll on his body. As a result, his sack totals have decreased steadily the last four years.
“Burgess’ sack totals are in a four-year decline and he missed parts of the last two seasons with injuries,” said Tanier of Burgess, who has been hobbled by foot injuries over the course of his career. “He’s been an undersized 4-3 end for his entire career, and all the battles against offensive tackles have taken their toll.
“The Raiders haven’t had the talent in the last few years to spot him, so he’s been in the lineup for nearly every defensive snap when healthy. That’s not good for a 260-pound end.”
“He wasn’t very productive last year, but no one on the Oakland defense had a good year last year, other than [cornerback] Nnamdi Asomugha,” Baldinger said. “I think he could be a good, solid player. I don’t know if he’s an every down guy, but not many are these days.”
However, he still has a big upside. Tanier says Burgess is an “underrated” run defender, and offers a statistical argument: According to Football Outsiders, he made 18 tackles on running plays, and 15 of them qualified as “stops,” meaning he tackled the running back for a minimal gain. His 2007 numbers (33 run tackles, 28 stops) are similar.
“Burgess is very good at flattening out and making plays from the backside,” Tanier said. “If the running back is running right, Burgess can chase him from the left side of the formation and make the stop.”
In the end, Tanier believes the Patriots would not be getting a true replacement for Mike Vrabel. However, as a situational pass rusher, Burgess would certainly fill the bill.
“Vrabel could do some things in coverage that Burgess cannot, and Vrabel had experience playing off the line of scrimmage as a traditional linebacker on run downs,” Tanier said. “Burgess fits better in the old Rosie Colvin-Willie McGinest role as the linebacker who plays in a three-point stance wide of the left tackle on passing downs.
“He should probably be thought of as a situational pass rusher who gets 25 to 30 snaps at this point in his career. With that kind of workload, he can register six to seven sacks.”
“New England needs pass rushers, and I don’t know if they’ve replaced [Vrabel],” Baldinger said. “Burgess is not really a standup linebacker. But he’d be a good pass rusher in the New England defense.”
|08.06.09 at 5:47 pm ET|
Via their Twitter page, the Patriots have just announced they have release offensive lineman Al Johnson and have acquired defensive end/linebacker Derrick Burgess from Oakland. More to come.
|08.06.09 at 3:58 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of Nick Caserio’s Q&A with the media today at Gillette Stadium:
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|08.06.09 at 11:41 am ET|
FOXBOROUGH — A few notes from the Thursday morning practice session, which just wrapped up here at Gillette:
•The practice was held in shorts (or sweatpants) and shells under a slightly cloudy day with a nice breeze. A perfect day for camp – not too hot, not too humid and no rain. Awesome morning.
•Julian Edelman, Logan Mankins, Paris Lenon and a group of young linebackers — Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton and Pierre Woods — all drew big crowds of media after the workout. (Edelman, a rookie, was heckled by some veteran running backs as they walked by — might be the last time he speaks for a long time.) I spoke with cornerback Leigh Bodden in a one-on-one setting, and I’ll have that as part of my story for tomorrow.
•Coach Bill Belichick is not scheduled to address the media this morning. However, Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio is scheduled to hold a press conference momentarily, and we will have the full transcript a little later on this afternoon.
•By our count, the following players were not on the field for the Thursday morning session: wide receiver Joey Galloway, wide receiver Brandon Tate, cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, safety Tank Williams, cornerback Shawn Springs, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, linebacker Tedy Bruschi, offensive lineman Al Johnson, offensive lineman Stephen Neal, offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, offensive lineman Mark LeVoir, offensive lineman George Bussey, offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan, wide receiver Randy Moss, wide receiver Wes Welker, tight end Benjamin Watson, defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith, defensive lineman Myron Pryor, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, defensive lineman Ty Warren, linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, defensive lineman Jarvis Green and linebacker Shawn Crable.
•Quarterback Tom Brady was not wearing his traditional left knee brace. Again, he appeared to be moving well, and was not hindered in any of the drills the quarterbacks took part in. No limp, no hitch, nothing. However, while the Patriots were going through a series of special teams drills, No. 12 stood on the sidelines for an extended period of time, chatting with owner Bob Kraft.
•The officials were in attendance for the second consecutive day, and were involved in several of the drills, including the 11-on-11’s that concluded the morning session.
•Belichick was an animated presence throughout the morning — at one point, he commandeered a drill involving a quarterback rolling out and firing a pass to someone in the end zone. Belichick grabbed a large red ball (A medicine ball? Maybe a super-sized kickball?) and fired it at the quarterbacks in the 5-on-5 sessions, making sure they kept their heads about them as they rolled out and tried to find a receiver. It’s worth noting here that the quarterbacks who were his target in this drill were Kevin O’Connell and Brian Hoyer.
•O’Connell continued to see fewer and fewer reps in favor of new quarterback Andrew Walter, but he did well when given the opportunity. One of his best moments of the morning session came when he hit wide receiver Sam Aiken on a nice deep ball down the middle of the field. A really nice connection.
•Walter also had some good moments, including an impressive hookup over the middle with Edelman.
•At the end of the practice, the offense went up against the defense in a goal-line setting — much the same way they did at the end of Tuesday morning’s practice. But this time, the defense got the better of the offense when Edelman failed to hold on to a pass (after getting mauled by cornerback Darius Butler), which meant the offense had to run a lap at the end of practice.
|08.06.09 at 9:19 am ET|
FOXBOROUGH — We are back at Gillette Stadum, ready for another day of traning camp. The Patriots have one morning workout scheduled, which is set to get underway at 9:30 a.m. At 6:30 p.m., there will be an annual training camp tradition when they practice inside stadium, an event exclusively for season ticket holders. We should have our first blog post of the day up around noon.
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