Veteran Wilfork providing a mentor role to Patriots defensive line

1/23/12 in NFL   |   JamesSmith23   |   1413 respect

New England Patriots’ defense came out as an unlikely savior against the Baltimore Ravens at the AFC Championship this Sunday. Patriots offensive line faltered against the Ravens impressive defense forcing the Patriots to increase the tempo of their game. Quarterback Tom Brady completed 22 of his 36 passes but was unable to record assist with any touchdowns. Instead, the veteran gave away two interceptions and was sacked twice. 

In the post game ceremony Brady admitted that it was Patriots’ defensive line that stepped up their game to save the day. Defense man Vince Wilfork was an important figure for the Patriots on Sunday. Head coach Bill Belichick praised him in his post game news conference.

Belichick also mentioned Wilfork in the post game ceremony. Belichick told reporters that the defensive tackle was involved in a bunch of important plays. Belichick also extolled the running game and the defensive lines part in stopping Ravens’ play making abilities.

“I thought Vince had a lot of big plays today,” Belichick said. “It looked like there were a couple things in the interior part of our defense that could have been a little better; I mean, [Ray] Rice got through there a few times, but we hit the quarterback, we did a decent job in the running game, especially early. And then they punched a few through there in the second half, but I thought our guys up from did a good job. They do a good job running the ball and for the most part we didn't really have our safeties involved too much in the run for us. It was pretty much with the front seven, so those guys had to handle it themselves and I though there were competitive doing that.”

Belichick further stated that Wilfork was one of his key players in his defense. The veteran defense man has been in Patriots’ defensive line for some time now therefore he has built up a lot of chemistry with other players. Recognizing his leadership qualities, Belichick acknowledged Wilfork’s mentor role in the squad.

“I mean, he leads the way for us on defense - he and Jerod [Mayo],” Belichick replied when a reporter questioned him on the issue. “Vince is obviously our most experienced player and he's been a great leader, great captain all year. His leadership has been tremendous - so has Jerod's. You can't say enough about Mayo. He does everything for us in terms of calling defenses, making adjustments, the running game, the passing game. He's the first guy in the building every day and the last one to leave, so those guys have been great all year. I can't say enough about both of them. And Devin [McCourty] in the secondary, now that he's a captain. He's done a great job for us. All six of those guys really -  [Matthew] Slater, Brady, [Logan] Mankins - it's really an outstanding group and I think our overall preparation over the last couple weeks and their leadership and their confidence has carried over to the rest of the team. They've set the pace and the rest of the guys have fallen in step. It's been awesome - certainly a lot better than some other years I can think of.”  


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