Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wilfork, Patriots prepping for Texans' cut blocking


New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has seen it all, and his ability to diagnose opponents' strengths and tendencies is evidenced by the on-field instinct he displays.

With the Houston Texans coming to town Sunday for a Divisional Round bout, Wilfork is preparing to defend the cut block. (photo: AJ Guel, Flickr)

"That’s something that they do very, very well," Wilfork told reporters Tuesday, via Patriots.com. "Their zone running scheme, stretch runs [and they] mix in a couple scheme runs. But playing cut blocks is always a big challenge when you’re facing a team like this because it seems like – I don’t care if you’re getting cut on the front side or the back side, that running back sees it and he hits it right off that cut block."

Led by Arian Foster and his 1,424 yards, the Texans averaged 4.2 yards a carry in the regular season. Houston had 15 rushes of 20 yards or more and scored via the ground 19 times.

Conversely, New England has been solid defensively against the run, surrendering just 3.9 yards a carry and a league-low five rushes of 20 yards or more.

When the team's met earlier in the season in a 42-14 blowout that favored the Patriots, the Texans got behind by a large margin early and weren't able to do what they do best, which is churn out yards on the ground to set up the play-fake in third-and-short situations. New England, however, is getting ready to take on that look if the game dictates it.

"Any team that runs the ball the way they run the ball and has the play-action and the bootlegs and all the stuff that comes after that, it’s a big challenge for us," Wilfork said. "But we’ve faced it, we’ve seen it a bunch of times, so we kind of know how we want to play this game."

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