Without familiar faces around him, Wilfork carries on
|08.17.10 at 3:55 pm ET|
For years, the trio of Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour — the Patriots’ defensive front three — was as much a New England fixture as the Freedom Trail or Dunkin’ Donuts.
From much of the stretch between 2004 and 2008 (Warren was drafted in 2003, but assumed the role of full-time starter at left defensive end the following year), the threesome made up one of the best defensive fronts in the game. In that stretch, the three first-round picks accumulated a combined six Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl title, all the while serving as the bedrock of the New England defense.
But before the start of the 2009 season, Seymour was traded to the Raiders for a first-round selection in the 2011 draft. And with the news last week that Warren will now be lost for the entire 2010 season after being placed on season-ending injured reserve with a hip injury, it leaves Wilfork as the lone holdover from a golden era for New England defensive linemen, at least this season.
“Changes happen all the time around sports, not just football. Around sports, every year is different,” Wilfork told reporters earlier Tuesday. “I don’t have Seymour. I don’t have Ty right now. It’s going to be different. Nothing is going to be easy.”
While Wilfork does have some positional versatility — he has played defensive end on occasion with New England — the Patriots will likely rely on a combination of veterans and newcomers to fill the void. It looks like Gerard Warren will take the bulk of the snaps in place of Ty Warren, while Damione Lewis and veteran Mike Wright have been on the other side of Wilfork.
“I’m happy with what we have,” Wilfork added. “I can’t ask for any better guys than what I have. They are hard workers. They want to learn. They want to learn this defense. They don’t make any excuses. And that’s one thing I love: no excuses. We’ve started from rock bottom. We’ve started this whole thing over. It’s been a work in progress. But at the same time, we’ve been going in the right direction. So as long as we keep going in this right direction, I think we’ll be OK.”
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