Wilfork on D&H: ‘There are changes everywhere’
|08.16.10 at 1:17 pm ET|
‘As far as the player, that’s a guy I will miss out there on the field with me but I think the guys that stepped in are doing a good job,’ Wilfork said of Warren. ‘I mean we’ve been working every day, everybody has been doing their thing and hopefully we can get better as a team.’
Wilfork also touched on heading to Atlanta and facing Falcons players in duel practices.
Below are the highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
What did you think when you heard the news that Ty Warren was going to be out for the season?
That’s a personal friend of mine on and off the field. It’s just sad to hear something like that, sidelined for the season. I talked with him afterwards and everything and he’s in high spirits. It’s something he said he needs to take care of and I support him 100 percent. As far as the player, that’s a guy I will miss out there on the field with me but I think the guys that stepped in are doing a good job. I mean we’ve been working every day, everybody has been doing their thing and hopefully we can get better as a team. As far as Ty, I was just sad to hear that because he’s tough as nails and when he says something is bothering him, something is bothering him. I respect him, I respect him as a player and a person. But it’s just sad for him to go down like that and I’ll always keep him in my prayers and my locker is right next to him so he’ll be with me spiritually throughout the year.
He’s a guy who put his morals and his convictions where his pocketbook was. He passed up on an offseason workout bonus and went back down to Texas A&M to work on his degree. Was he here for all the mandatory stuff he had to be here for?
He was around. I think he even came back a couple days earlier for the minicamps and OTAs and whatever. He’s been around, he’s always worked. Even now with him going in with his injury, he’s watching film still like he’s playing. So I’m sure if I have a question or whatever it may be, I can always call him and say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this tackle or this guard? How you feel if we do this personnel?’ He’s always watching film and always preparing like he’s there. That’s just the professionalism of the guy. Most guys when they get hurt and are done for a good while just put football away and go about their business. But that’s one guy that always keeps football in his pocket and always with the DVDs and playbooks, he’s always calling me asking me what we’re doing. He always wants to stay in tune with the team and that’s every bit of a leader and every bit of respect from a person you can get.
How do you view voluntary workouts? They call them voluntary but we all know the team’s not happy when a player’s not there.
I mean, it’s whatever. I can’t answer that question. To me, it’s basically getting together with your teammates and getting stuff done. Sometimes people will be able to make it, sometimes they can’t. It’s voluntary, it’s not mandatory. Most of the time we’ve been pretty lucky around here where guys show up as a team and build comradely with the team. We always go into camp feeling good. That’s just something everybody has a different takes on. Mandatory, voluntary, there are just different opinions about it.
You don’t have Richard Seymour and Ty Warren next to you on the line anymore. How are you dealing with that as a nose tackle?
Sometimes I wake up and still realize that. This is my seventh year. I remember when I was a rookie coming in and my second year. I remember all those years. Ever year changes. Like I said I’m going into my seventh year so there are changes everywhere. Not just in this organization but all around the league. You see guys that I grew up looking at becoming my teammates. Junior Seau is one of them, Randy Moss is one of them. So I mean every year it changes. You never know, one day it could be a certain way and the next day it could be totally different. It goes with the program. It’s going to happen to everyone.
It’s going to be a time when I’m not going to be here for whatever reason. So you have to understand that and take it with a grain of salt and keep it moving. For me to come in and play with the line that I had with Seymour and Ty Warren, but good times is good times. At the same time, you have to keep moving forward and that’s something we strive on around here. I’m very happy with what we have, I’m very excited about this ballclub and I’m ready to do some special things this year.
I know you well enough to know that any season where you lose your last game is not a good season. What has happened between then and now to lead you to believe this year is going to be better?
Well, just the competition. Everybody’s competing, that’s one thing that we’ve stepped up in from the OTAs all the way until now. It’s very competitive between the offense, defense and special teams. Just take today for instance. You have offense playing defense and you have defense playing offense. We have fun but at the same time I’m pretty sure [Tom Brady] and them wanted to win and we wanted to win, its bragging rights. Everything we do we want to compete and I think the more we compete with each other, it will bring out the best of us when we’re in tough situations in games. From what I see, from the young guys all the way to the veterans, everybody is grinding and everybody is here to work.
No complaining, nobody is telling Bill [Belichick] how we think we should do something different. Everyone is here for the ride, we’re excited and we’re all happy. Like I said, when you see a team like that, I expect big things about it and I’m ready for the season to get going and I know we still have to go through the preseason. It’s been different around here this year. Starting with the Saints last week coming in here and practicing and now we have to go to Atlanta and practice. That’s different. That just shows people we need to compete. At all times in practice and on the field, we want to compete. I think that level of everyone competing will help win some ballgames just by competing.
What do you take away from the Saints game?
I mean the Saint are first of all the Super Bowl champs. We knew going in that they were going to come to play and we needed to match their intensity and I think we did a real good job of that last week through practice and going into the gameplan very well. Everything is not perfect, we’re far from where we need to be. As long as we keep working, we’ll get it done. Me personally, I just think the recognition of getting the game picked back up, the feel and getting back going, shedding blocks, winning two-gaps, when to get off a block and go. Just the little things that you get over time. The more you play, the more you get it and it comes naturally.
Hopefully we’ll be there by the first game of the season and normally four preseason games are more than enough time to get that stuff, get the timing and everything down. Just getting better looking at film and seeing where my hands were, my footwork, just little technique stuff. You can always get better. Going into this week, that’s going to be a big key for me. They’re totally different teams. The Saints and Atlanta are totally different. At the same time, have to approach it differently. I want to win everything like I said but they’re totally two different running style teams. You have to make those adjustments on the run and get it done.
What was it like playing against the Saints in practice?
It was different. It was pretty exciting to be honest with you. It was like three games in practices and on Thursday night it was another one, that’s basically what it was. We were just working stuff and working situations in normal practice. But instead of beating up on each other, you get a chance to beat up on somebody else. I think as a team we liked it. Hopefully in Atlanta, we go to practice and everything, get something out of it and play well on Thursday. It’s something different. I like it and it was pretty cool to have something different around and let’s see where it takes us.
If you knock down Dan Koppen in practice, I can see you helping him up. If you knock down the Atlanta center, is it a different mindset for you?
I won’t help him up. He’s not my teammate, that’s not my problem. I don’t know if you call it personal or what but it’s not a teammate of mine. It’s just a mindset I always have. ‘¦ I don’t know him and I don’t plan on knowing him. I’m going down there for one reason and that’s to win and compete. That’s it, nothing more than it, nothing less than it. Hopefully everybody is one the same page as me. I mean you have friends everywhere you go, don’t get me wrong. ‘¦ That’s just how I carry myself. I’m blue and red and I have a patriot on my helmet, not a falcon. That’s just how I roll.
One guy you do know is Damione Lewis who went to Miami. He was at Miami three years before you. He’s on this team now so what can you tell us about him?
He’s a vet, he’s 10 years in. Going to University of Miami, he was leaving. I just remember looking at that guy play and how he just was in the backfield, tackling for a loss, getting sacks. He was around the ball. He knew how to find the ball. He’s very competitive. Two-gap is different from one but at the same time, I think he has the capability of being a great two-gap. He’s everything that we need. He’s a good guy and he loves to play football. That’s first and foremost, he loves to play the game. I think he scores big with guys coming in here that want to win, want to play, want to contribute in any way that they can. He’s one of those guys that should help that this year.
As a group, are you happy with this young group of players that has come in, especially on the defensive side of the ball?
I’m very happy and I think that they’re starting to see guys that have been around the game for a while, either around the league or been a New England Patriot. They start to see how we handle ourselves and how we go to work day in and day out. That’s one thing that has gotten better. Like I said, we haven’t had any complaints. We come in to work. Not once have I heard anybody complain about full-pads and that’s good stuff. I think everyone is working toward one goal to win and be a better football team. A tough, smart football team. Bill said it from day one that’s what he wants. I think we’re doing everything in our willpower to be that type of team. I think the young guys are starting to look at guys, you don’t have to say much, they just look and see how we work and they just pick up. They’ve been doing a hell of a job so we’re going to need everybody to step up and will ballgames. Take it one game at a time, take it week by week and we’ll be where we want. We’ve got to grind and we all understand that.