|Vince Wilfork: ‘Best way to answer anything is to win’||10.06.14 at 2:40 am ET|
FOXBORO — Six days ago in Kansas City the Patriots got manhandled in a 41-14 defeat before a national television audience on Monday Night Football.
Following the loss, it was a long week in New England with criticism going all around, no one left behind — even quarterback Tom Brady got his fair share. But in typical Patriots fashion, they responded in the only way they know how — a blowout, 43-17 win of their own over the previously undefeated Bengals on Sunday Night Football.
“Best way to answer anything is to win,” 11-year veteran Vince Wilfork said. “If we were sitting here undefeated, everybody would be blowing smoke up us, how great we are. That’s why we don’t pay attention to anything outside of here. Our job is what we have in here, being able to put it on the practice field and put together a good game plan and try to execute. Tonight we did well. We executed well. That’s something that we’ve been lacking this season.
“We’ve been inconsistent, so we have to start being more consistent playing football, and I think today was a good day to get it going against a good football team, being on Sunday Night Football, Sunday Night Football again on national TV [with] everybody watching. You’ve just seen two different teams from Monday night to tonight ‘ two different teams. It just goes to show you we’re capable of doing it. We just have to continue to do it every day and every week just being more consistent and we’ll be alright.”
|Tedy Bruschi on D&H: ‘Right now, [Tom Brady] isn’t one of the elite quarterbacks’||09.30.14 at 4:14 pm ET|
In the aftermath of the Patriots’ 41-14 demolition at the hands of the Chiefs on Monday Night Football, former Patriots linebacker (and current ESPN analyst) Tedy Bruschi pulled no punches in examining the state of his former team. He suggested that the Patriots were out-coached when they were on defense (praising Chiefs coach Andy Reid for using misdirection plays to open up the field, particularly the weak side of the line for the running game) and simply beaten up when their offense was on the field.
“You’re comparing the world championship teams, of course there’s a major talent deficit,” Bruschi, in his weekly interview on WEEI’s Dale & Holley show, said. “They’re not playing at a world championship level.”
He noted that Chandler Jones can be coached to improve his technique and do a better job of holding his ground on the weak side of the line for runs, while adding that he felt that Vince Wilfork had performed adequately at the point of attack, with the issue being the large holes emerging next to him on the line. Bruschi said that he felt the defense would have to be the defining presence of the team given some of the offensive shortcomings on display that show little possibility of immediate resolution.
No one was beyond blame for the offensive woes. Asked if Tom Brady remained an elite quarterback, Bruschi was candid.
“Right now, he’s not one of the elite quarterbacks, just based on performance. I can’t say that,” said Bruschi. “Based on numbers, wins and losses, accuracy, throws down the field — no. He’s not. He’s not playing like it.”
|Vince Wilfork on D&H: Patriots ‘haven’t played our best game yet’||09.22.14 at 9:12 pm ET|
With the Raiders driving deep into Patriots territory at the end of the game, Wilfork helped close out the New England victory with a key interception — the third of his career. Two of his interceptions have come against Oakland.
“That play I caught it, but that play probably wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates,” Wilfork said of the interception. “I just happened to be there to catch it. That’s the main thing.”
Continued Wilfork: “It was something I thought I was going to be able to get. I didn’t know when, but I actually called it earlier this year. I think going into this past week, I was talking to Chandler [Jones] and I told him, ‘I think I have one coming soon.’ A little vision I had. Some call vision that I saw in my sleep. A little birdie tapped me on the shoulder and was like, ‘You’ll be ready.’ ”
The Patriots defense allowed nine points to Oakland on Sunday and just 16 combined in the last two weeks. Wilfork said the defense still has room for improvement throughout the season.
“We haven’t played our best game yet, it has yet to come,” Wilfork said. “The more we practice at it, the more consistent we become, I think you’ll see the defense play a lot better. It’s just one of those things each week where you have to continue to just grind away. Things we make mistakes of, correct them and move forward. And get better each day. I think that’s one thing we have done from the first week to now. We’ve gotten better each week. And that’s the only thing you can ask for. It’s still early in the season.”
Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, part of a defense that has allowed just 16 points combined in the last two games, made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Monday to recap Sunday’s win. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Jones and his teammates kept the Raiders out of the end zone in a 16-9 victory, but he said there are plenty of things the team needs to work on.
“I feel like we also have room for improvement, always room for improvement,” Jones said. “We definitely could have done better, but a win is a win, and we’ve got to keep moving forward. That’s our thing is to keep moving forward.”
Jones was complimentary of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr last week, and he said Carr was quick to offer thanks — among many comments he made during Sunday’s contest.
“I spoke to Derek Carr during the game, actually,” Jones said. “He was one of the quarterbacks that actually spoke the most — most of any quarterback I’ve ever played against. … Not trash, not trash at all. Stuff like [saying hello]. Or, ‘You’re not going to catch me. It was strange.”
Added Jones: “I had said in an interview before the game, I don’t see Derek Carr as being a rookie quarterback — which I don’t, he’s a very good player. I guess he’s one of those guys who reads articles about him, because early in the game he came up to me and said ‘Hey, Chandler, I really like what you said about me.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, thanks.’
“He’s a really good quarterback. He’s a very good quarterback. We didn’t get a chance to get him, because that’s credit to him. He has very good awareness in the pocket. There were a few times when I would have got another quarterback or someone that stood back there. He got away from me a few times, which is credit to him. He has very good scrambling abilities. He’s a young quarterback; I still don’t see him as a rookie quarterback. He’s a good player.”
|Vince Wilfork’s third career interception secures Patriots win||09.21.14 at 6:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — With Oakland having first and goal, trailing by seven points with less than a minute to play in the Patriots’ home opener, the defense needed to come up with a big play.
It got that play, but coming from one of the most unlikely of players in that situation — defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
Oakland quarterback Derek Carr’s pass intended for Denarius Moore was deflected by cornerback Logan Ryan back towards the line of scrimmage and Wilfork was there to snag the ball for his third career interception, sealing the Patriots 16-9 victory in its home opener.
“I think it was a team play,” said Wilfork. “Like I said, knowing the situation we were in, it was a three-man rush and the main thing I didn’t want to do was get tied up at the line of scrimmage because they had more guys to block. We only had three and they have five and sometimes they keep an extra guy in for them to make sure they have protection, so I just wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t get tied up and just read the quarterback. If everybody is going their job, which they were, he’d have to either scramble with the ball or come to a check down. And once he came to the check down, I was lucky to have some defenders already there that batted the ball around a little bit and I just happened to catch it.
“The credit doesn’t go all to me — the credit goes to the defense. Because without the coverage in the end zone, without the man-to-man coverage we were in, without the bobbled ball, without the two other guys on the line of scrimmage rushing with me, that play probably wouldn’t have happened, so that’s a great defensive play.”
Wilfork is now the Patriots franchise leader in interceptions by a defensive linemen with three — passing Anthony Pleasant, Richard Seymour and Henry Thomas — who all have two. His last interception also came against the Raiders, back in 2011 in Oakland — a 31-19 Patriots victory.
|Vince Wilfork on D&H: Patriots’ win over Vikings ‘huge step forward’||09.15.14 at 5:19 pm ET|
Against the Dolphins in Week 1, the Patriots defense allowed 23 unanswered points in the second half. Wilfork said after the game that the Patriots would step up their performance against the Vikings. The defense did just that, allowing just one touchdown early in the game against Minnesota.
“I think we did pretty well,” Wilfork said of the defense. “Everything wasn’t perfect, but it definitely was a step in the right direction. Going into that game just kind of felt that this week was a good week for us to get back on track and start playing the way we want to play. That was a huge step forward for us. We just have to continue to just keep grinding away, this week, weeks after this. It’s going to get tougher. Every game gets tougher. Every game is more important.”
Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson did not play in Sunday’s game because of a domestic abuse incident involving his son. Despite not having to go against one of the league’s best running backs, Wilfork said he wished the Patriots could have faced him.
“I was kind of bummed out because I really wanted us to face a good back,” Wilfork said. “Not saying that the backs they had weren’t good, but when you talk about Adrian Peterson, he’s one of the best in the game. I thought it’d be a good challenge for us defensively to go in off of a performance that we had a week before, with a running back that definitely knows what he’s doing. But we didn’t get it. But at the same time, we didn’t let that affect how we went into the game plan.”
|Vince Wilfork on D&H: ‘This defense is a lot better than what we’ve shown’||09.08.14 at 7:10 pm ET|
New England’s 33-20 loss included 23 unanswered points in the second half from the Dolphins. Wilfork said the loss bothered him so much that he got an early start at looking at video on the trip back to Foxboro.
“Just looking at the film, and it bothered me last, so I got a jump on it last night on the plane just to see there were the breakdowns were,” Wilfork said. “Just small things. But, you know, a bunch of small things amount to big things and that’s exactly what happened to us last night. We have to be able to regroup and get back focus, especially starting with the run game because going to Minnesota, with one of the best running backs in the game, and all they do is depend on their pounding game. We know it’s going to be a tough week. But at the same time, we know we have to get better, and we will.”
Dolphins Running backs Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller led the offensive charge with a combined 191 yards on the ground — 102 yards more than the Patriots’ ground attack.
“I know that they had good backs able to run the ball,” he said. “But giving up the yards we gave up, we’re way better than that. This defense is a lot better than what we’ve shown. It’s frustrating and you’re disappointed, but at the same time there’s a lot of football to play. Our main goal is to get better each week. We have a long season so we can’t hold our head down because the ball is going to keep rolling.
“You want to be a tough defense, you got to be able stop the run. You want to be a tough football team, you to go to be able to be able to run the ball and stop the run. Plain and simple.”
Even though the Patriots struggled on the defensive side of the ball Sunday, especially in the second half, Wilfork said the Patriots’ goal is to be one of the top defenses in the league.
“Our goal is to be one of the best defenses on the field, simple,” he noted. “I’m not being arrogant, I’m not being crazy, I’m speaking with confidence for my team, for myself. I’m speaking with a lot of confidence because I know what we have. I know the type of players that we have in that locker room. I understand the type of players that we have on the defensive line. And we have a bunch of good football players that can play the game.”
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