Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wilfork taking Pats' inefficient run defense personally


The New England Patriots defense has been one of polarity the past couple years, a circumstance that has defensive tackle Vince Wilfork pretty peeved.

The team's passing defense, a sore spot in year's past, has been pretty impressive the last two seasons, finishing in the middle of the pack in 2013 and currently first in the league this season. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the run defense.

Last year, while Wilfork spent most of his time on the bench rehabbing a torn Achilles, the Pats front seven was awful against the run. The unit allowed more than 130 yards on the ground per game on average, the third-worst performance in the league.

And though Wilfork is back in the picture this season, things haven't improved much.

The team is currently 24th in league, allowing a little more than 124 yards per game and coming off a week where it surrendered more than 200 yards to the New York Jets.

Facing Matt Forte and the Chicago Bears this weekend, Wilfork says it's time to put up or shut up.

"All the years I’ve been here, that’s one of the main things we’ve been fairly successful," Wilfork said via Thursday. "I want us to get back to being the New England Patriots up front being able to handle the run game. And every week, it’s going to get tougher. You can’t talk about it all the time, you have to just do it and prove it on the field.

"I’m pretty sure [the Bears are] looking at our season and saying, 'We can run the ball on these guys.' We have to be able to stop the run, and until we do it on a consistent basis, opponents are going to continue to do it."

Forte has been, yet again, one of the most successful backs in the league this year. He's fifth in the league in rushing yards with 448 and has nearly as many receiving yards (436), tallying five total touchdowns.

Wilfork told Lee Schechter of that he's prepared to see the run early on, and the team's success rate against it may dictate how the rest of the game plays out.

"I could see them doing a lot more of [giving Forte the ball] coming into this game, especially trying to get that running game started so it can open up the play-action passes and throw the ball vertically to his big receivers," he said. "So we have to do a real great job up front of trying to take away the run game."

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