|Vince Wilfork: Sometimes, Marshawn Lynch doesn’t even need blockers||10.11.12 at 1:54 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Asked Thursday about the talents of Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork scoffed.
“The guy can go anywhere — sometimes, he doesn’t even need a block,” Wilfork said before practice. “He breaks a lot, a lot of tackles. A lot of tackles. He’s been running hard ever since we were facing him at Buffalo. He’s just a tough, tough back. He’s strong. A physical runner. He’s quick. Shifty. He’s well put together.”
Lynch is the latest impressive back to go up against the New England run defense this season. The Patriots have managed to do a good job holding many elite backs in check, including Chris Johnson (11 rushes, 4 yards), C.J. Spiller (8 carries, 33 yards), Fred Jackson (13 carries, 29 yards) and Willis McGahee (14 carries, 51 yards). In all, New England has yielded an average of 82.2 yards per game, eighth-best in the league.
But Wilfork believes the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Lynch — who has 508 carries on 113 rushing attempts this season — doesn’t get the respect he deserves. The 26-year-old Lynch has rushed for at least 100 yards in eight of his last 14 games, and last season, he set a career-high with 13 total touchdowns.
“You talk about backs being an elite back, I don’t think he gets enough credit,” Wilfork said. “He’s probably one of the tougher backs in the league to defend — he can go anywhere. Like I said, sometimes, he doesn’t even need blocks. He can go out there and take on the defense himself. He’s a real good back.
“It’s going to be very very tough when it comes down to stopping the run. All year, we’ve faced some good runners, but this guy is probably, he’s at the top so we have our work cut out. It’ll be a good challenge for us up front. But you know what? We welcome the challenge. I feel good about the things we’re doing — I’m pretty sure they feel good about running the football. It’s going to be one of those games where it’s going to come down to can we stop Marshawn Lynch and this running attack.”
Wilfork, one of the centerpieces of a defense that is 22nd in the league (373.8 yards per game allowed), said the Seattle offense goes beyond the work of Lynch. He praised rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, saying the Patriots have to “bottle up” the 23-year-old rookie who can make plays with the feet as well as his arm.
“He makes a lot of plays,” Wilfork said. “He’s very athletic as a quarterback. Like I said, he can hurt you if you don’t bottle him up with 11 guys on defense or pursue him well or rush lanes, he’ll make you pay. So we have to do a real good job this week. We have these backs to deal with and then we have this quarterback, and when he does get the ball out to his wide receivers, they make plays for him.
“This is a well-coached group. They’re going to fight for 60 minutes. They’re going to always be in games. They play clutch football. It’s going to be tough for us — it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
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