Thursday, November 7, 2013

Patriots' defensive line still leaning on Wilfork


Just because Vince Wilfork is no longer on the field, it doesn't mean his teammates aren't still watching him perform.

Wilfork, the anchor of the New England Patriots' defense, was lost for the season Week 4, though he's helping out his team in a different way these days. Patriots defensive line coach Patrick Graham told reporters this week that he regularly uses film of the veteran defensive tackle to show the rest of his group "how Vince did it."

"You all do it like that," Graham tells them.

"He's the guy that everybody in that room, including myself, we learn from," Graham said, via "We try to emulate that because he's the pinnacle of a good defensive lineman and that's the man who is our closest example of being a great football player, and that's what we try to learn from."

The loss of Wilfork created a huge void up the middle of New England's defense, and that void became even bigger with Tommy Kelly getting injured.

The Patriots have been making due with a by-committee approach of late, thrusting Joe Vellano and Chris Jones into primary jobs while trading for Isaac Sopoaga. New England also signed veteran Andre Carter recently to add some leadership to the defensive line as a whole.

Graham's defensive front has struggled a big against the run in Wilfork's absence, but overall, he's pleased with the youngsters' collective effort.

"They work hard in the classroom, they work hard taking care of their bodies and everything," he said, "and all we can ask them to do is come into the building, do your job, be attentive, work hard, and that's what they're doing."

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