Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ryan, Sanchez wary of Patriots' big man Wilfork


Rex Ryan doesn't want to call Vince Wilfork "huge" for fear that the New England Patriots' 325-pound (listed) defensive tackle will take a field trip to the New York Jets' sideline for a reply.

But Ryan had plenty to say about Wilfork when assessing the Patriots' defensive front-seven, which will give the Jets' offensive line all it can handle when the squads face off in Foxborough Sunday.

"You start with the huge, I'm sorry, the large man in the middle, Vince Wilfork," Ryan told reporters Wednesday. "I don't want to say anything, I don't want Vince coming after me that's for sure. But he's a great player, he is a tremendous player. You have to block him with two guys because if not, you're not budging him and he's going to make play after play inside there. He's a terrific player, a Pro Bowl player. "

Wilfork's main role in the Patriots' defense is to disrupt the opposing blockers by demanding a double-team, opening up opportunities for other defensive linemen and linebackers. But Wilfork finds his way on the stat sheet as well, having recording 14 tackles, three passes defensed and a fumble recovery through six games this season.

"He’s big, not just in stature, but it’s important for us to block him well," Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "[Nick] Mangold always has a tough job doing that. He’s going to have to bring his best and I know Nick will. He’s one of those guys that can really disrupt your running game, disrupt your protection up front. It’s always a good matchup.

"He’s a heck of a player, a great motor. He’s always a standout player on their defense, so we’re going to have to play well."

Ryan went on to laud the rest of New England's defensive front, which is giving up just 3.4 yards a carry to opposing running backs, which is good enough for fourth in the NFL in that category. It will be a tough task for a Jets running game averaging 3.8 yards a carry, which is tied for seventh-worst in the league.

"They have the [Kyle] Love kid, who I think's an underrated player," Ryan said. "Then you have the inside 'backers. I like [Brandon] Spikes as a big hard-hitting tough guy. Then 51 [Jerod Mayo] is a he-can-do-it-all type player, run-hit guy, he's good in coverage. They have those front seven guys and they always do a good job stopping the run."

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