|09.30.13 at 12:53 pm ET|
Patriots offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer joined Mut & Merloni to discuss the team’s 30-23 win over the Falcons on Sunday and the reported season-ending injury to defensive lineman Vince Wilfork.
‘I truly don’t know what the injury is,’ Vollmer said. ‘You don’t want to see anybody get hurt, and obviously he ended up hurting himself. It was tough, but you’ve got to keep going.’
An Achilles tear generally takes 6-9 months for recovery, meaning Wilfork would miss the remainder of the season.
‘He’s been here for quite a while, playing at a high level every year,’ Vollmer said. ‘Absolutely he’s a phenomenal player but also just a great teammate and a great leader.’
Vollmer and the Patriots offensive line protected Tom Brady well, as New England’s quarterback was not sacked and Atlanta recorded just two quarterback hits.
In addition, the line led way for a potent running game. The Patriots rushed for 132 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries. LeGarrette Blount led the team with 64 yards on nine carries, including a 47-yard touchdown scamper at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Stevan Ridley chipped in with 53 yards on 11 carries, and Brandon Bolden accumulated 17 yards on six rushes.
New England ran the ball 10 straight times on its first touchdown drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Matthew Mulligan.
‘I’m not a play-caller, but I guess we tried to go with whatever works,’ said Vollmer. ‘You don’t want to be one-dimensional and get stuffed every time, but if you can do the same thing and end up with a touchdown, I’ll take that any day.’
|09.30.13 at 12:27 pm ET|
Wilfork, one of the team’s defensive leaders, was spotted in a walking boot Sunday night. The Patriots have yet to confirm the extent of the injury to one of their defensive leaders, but reports indicate he suffered an Achilles injury that will end his season.
“Vince is one of the first guys here. People say that all the time: Well, he’s the first guy here, last one to leave. But honestly, as early as I try to get here myself, I can never beat Vince into the building,” Arrington said. “Just a tremendous guy not only on the field, but off the field. Everybody knows what kind of guy he is in the community. So, it’s unfortunate and sad to see a guy like that get hurt. Like I said, I definitely wish him the best, and hopefully he can get back soon.”
As for Sunday’s game, Arrington said he wasn’t surprised Atlanta tested the Patriots defensive backs early and often.
“It’s a talented group, especially at the skill positions,” Arrington said of the Falcons. “They played to the strengths of their team. They are a good team.”
Added Arrington: “We tried our best to take some guys away. Then the rest of us, it came down to you’re in a one-on-one battle each play.”
The defensive star was cornerback Aqib Talib, who had an interception and knocked away a fourth-down pass in the end zone in the final minute to preserve the win.
“Aqib, he brings such a tremendous work ethic to the game, at our position,” Arrington said. “It’s fun out there watching him. He’s one of those guys where I’m glad he’s on our team.”
|09.30.13 at 11:38 am ET|
Upon their arrival back in Foxboro around 5 a.m., the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick, who gave the players Monday off, immediately turned their thoughts to replacing one of their anchors for the last decade on defense.
Shalise Manza-Young of The Boston Globe was the first to report Monday morning that Vince Wilfork sustained a season-ending torn right Achilles in the first quarter of Sunday night’s 30-23 win over the Falcons in Atlanta.
During his conference call with reporters Monday morning, Belichick would not confirm the injury but did acknowledge that the team will have to closely monitor the situation to determine the next move.
“I don’t really have a lot of new information on that,” Belichick said. “We’ll just have to see how things turn out here. But he’s an outstanding player, we all know that. He gives us great leadership and he’s a strong contributor on and off the field and in the locker room and everything else. We’ll just have to see how things come together for him and also what, obviously if he’s not there, it will mean everybody having to pull a little bit more weight on their end.”
Belichick was asked directly if he can confirm the Achilles injury.
“I really don’t have a lot of information here,” Belichick replied. “Like I said, we got back late last night. I know they’re going to look at him and do some tests this morning and that’s really about all I know. I haven’t heard any more about that. I’m not sure exactly what the status of that is. That’s pretty common after every game. We get back here late off the road and then guys come in and they, whatever the injury is, they either get it treated or sometimes get it looked at in a little more detail with a test or whatever, whatever the case might be, whatever our medical department decides they need and then we go from there.”
Belichick said he did not know if Wilfork is likely to miss the rest of the season.
“I really don’t know much right now,” Belichick added. “Really, I don’t know much. I haven’t had a chance to meet with our medical people and I don’t even know what they’ve done yet this morning. I’m just trying to get caught up on what I need to do and then it will all come together here at some point during the day.”
Belichick realizes that if they do have to replace Wilfork and place him on season-ending injured reserve, there will be a big void to fill in the middle of the defensive line.
WEEI.com’s Chris Price breaks down the immediate options available to the Patriots.
|09.30.13 at 9:56 am ET|
Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the indomitable Broncos and a couple of injured Patriots.
Denver won a showdown of possibly the two fastest, most lethal offenses when the Eagles and new coach Chip Kelly visited the the Mile High City. The Broncos won in the fashion that they’ve won every game this season: a blowout. Denver moved to 4-0 with a 52-20 win and pushed its point differential to an NFL-high plus-88.
Schefter likened the Peyton Manning-led offense to the 2007 AFC champion Patriots.
‘Just think back to what you saw in 2007, you saw an unstoppable force, you saw a team that you knew was going to chew up and spit out the opposition every single Sunday, you saw a team that could not be stop, could not be slowed, a team that was going to put up numbers, stats, yards, everything, and Denver is the same kind of offensive outfit right now,’ Schefter said.
Manning already has accumulated 1,470 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions in just four games, throwing the ball to a variety of playmakers including wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker along with tight end Julius Thomas.
‘It looks like right now they can’t be slowed down,’ Schefter said. ‘Now, again, somebody at some point will be able to take them on, I’m sure, circumstances change, the year goes on, injuries happen, dynamics change, but right now they look unbeatable.’
Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork reportedly suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in Sunday night’s 30-23 victory over the Falcons, leading to speculation about who the team might bring in to fill the void.
‘I think you have to do something there if indeed Vince Wilfork is out for the year, and I don’t know if it’s true, but I’m sure it is if The Boston Globe is reporting it,’ Schefter said. ‘Assuming that he’s done for the year, I think you’ve got a case there where you’ve got a major hole there.’
|09.30.13 at 7:14 am ET|
1. If Wilfork is indeed lost for a serious stretch, the Patriots could make the shift to a three-man defensive front, utilizing Tommy Kelly on the nose and Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich as defensive ends. Kelly does have some positional versatility in that area, but in the past, he hasn’t sounded all that crazy about the idea of working as a nose tackle in the 3-4. It remains to be seen if he’d change his tune now that he’s here in New England, but it doesn’t seem like a realistic, long-term possibility. It would present the intriguing possibility of the Patriots — who have played a TON of nickel through the first four games — to go with some sort of 3-3-5 scheme as opposed to the 4-2-5 which they’ve favored to this point. That could make for some interesting personnel combinations, and also open the door for more playing time for linebacker Brandon Spikes.
One short-term possibility could be the increased use of Jones as a defensive tackle — the Patriots shifted the Syracuse product down from the defensive end spot on a number of occasions over the first four games in hopes of creating chaos on the interior for guards and centers, and the long and lean Jones has done well in that role. (Rookie Michael Buchanan filled Jones’ spot at defensive end.) However, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Jones is lighter than your usual defensive tackle, and so it’s questionable how he’d be able to hold up against the run on a consistent basis. But for 10-15 snaps a game, it remains a distinct possibility.
2. The Patriots could go out and sign someone to serve as an extra defensive tackle. There are several veteran free agents who are still in the market — frankly, it’s just a matter of determining who still has some tread on their tires and who is done. Casey Hampton and Sione Po’uha are two guys who certainly fit the mold as space-eating defensive tackles who are still available, but you’d have to gauge their interest in a return to the NFL even before you discussed the possibility of a workout.
3. Interestingly, several of the guys who are out there have connections to New England. Richard Seymour, Ron Brace and Kyle Love are three free agent possibilities. (Given the history between the two sides, it might be a bit of a longshot to say Seymour would return to New England. But you never know.) A second-round pick out of Boston College in 2009, Brace was considered a bit of an underachiever in his stint with the Patriots, and was cut loose late last year. And Love was released this past May after it was revealed he had Type-2 diabetes. He was quickly claimed by the Jags, but was a victim of the final round of cuts before the start of the season. The 25-year-old has had workouts with the Niners and Seahawks since the season began, but hasn’t hooked on with any other team to this point. Nicknamed “Mini V” because of his playing style and his unabashed love for Wilfork, he’d be an intriguing possibility if everything was equal. There’s always the possibility of a trade, but that market is unclear, at least at this point in the season.
4. The Patriots do have some possibilities currently on the roster, including Chris Jones and Joe Vellano. The 6-foot-2, 306-pound Jones, a sixth-round pick out of Bowling Green who was picked up off waivers from the Texans earlier this month, was pressed into service Sunday night when Kelly was out for a spell. He teamed with Vellano, a 6-foot-2,
200– 300-pounder out of Maryland who played well in spot duty through the first four games of the season. (Vellano had his first sack of the year Sunday night when he busted through the line in the second half and took down Matt Ryan.) In addition, two practice squad possibilities are A.J. Francis, a former college teammate of Vellano who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds who was added from the Dolphins earlier this month, as well as Marcus Forston, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive tackle who has spent a year in the system (most of the time working as a practice squad guy) learning at the foot of fellow Miami product Wilfork.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Patriots don’t need to do anything. In a series of Tweets early Monday morning, Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders made an interesting case for standing pat, saying that other teams have done as much in the past when they’ve lost a comparable defensive tackle, and the difference has been negligible.
5. The Patriots do have a couple of guys who might be able to fill the spot, but their hands are tied, at least for the next few weeks. At 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, Armond Armstead is a pass rushing lineman who is more of a defensive end than tackle, but does have some positional versatility and could kick inside. However, the former CFL sack king is currently on the reserve/NFI list because of a medical issue (surgery for an infection), and is eligible to return to action in a few weeks. In addition, Cory Grissom, a rookie defensive tackle out of South Florida who was placed on IR this summer and will be out for the entire 2013 season.
|09.30.13 at 2:27 am ET|
Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork suffered a torn Achilles on Sunday night that will almost certainly end his season, according to Shalise Manza-Young of The Boston Globe.
Wilfork suffered the injury early in the first quarter of Sunday night’s 30-23 win over the Falcons in Atlanta when he appeared to step on another player’s foot, and left the game. He was spotted in a walking boot and in street clothes in the second half.
The 31-year-old Wilfork has been the defensive centerpiece for the Patriots for the last several seasons. The 6-foot-2, 325-pounder is a five-time Pro Bowler and former All-Pro.
For some thoughts on how the Patriots might try to replace Wilfork, click here.
|09.30.13 at 12:21 am ET|
And the move in March to re-sign him to a one-year, $4.86 million contract certainly is paying huge dividends for the Patriots right now.
The 27-year-old broke up a Matt Ryan pass to Roddy White in the end zone with his left hand at the last moment to preserve New England’s 30-23 win over the Falcons on Sunday night. The play with 40 seconds left on fourth-and-7 from the New England 10 was the icing on the cake of one of the most dominant performances by a Patriots cornerback in recent history.
“Coach [Matt Patricia] dialed it up,” Talib said. “I was on Roddy. He just ran a straight over route, a crossing route [from] Matt Ryan, and I just had to get to it to break it up.”
The national television audience got to see what everyone in New England will attest to right now: No one is playing better cornerback in the NFL right now than Talib. Not Richard Sherman, not Darrelle Revis. No one is making bigger plays with the spotlight on him than the defensive back around which the Patriots have built their secondary.
“They did some pushing and we did some pulling and we came out with the victory,” Talib said. “We just switched it up on them. Sometimes we doubled them, sometimes we singled covered them, we just tried to do a good job of switching it up on them and kept them off balance a little bit.
“Being up 17 and letting them come back and having to stop them on the last play, you can always grow on that. Definitely feels good. You’ve got the whole league watching, the whole world watching. Everybody picked us to lose. It don’t get no better than that.”
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