BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak on Thursday, and is happy with the progress he is seeing from the Pats defensive unit.
“We’ve seen things go from terrible to pretty good,” said Wilfork. “Not great. We’re definitely not where we want to be, but at the same time we’re working towards it.”
“The past two weeks you’ve seen us, we have gotten better in certain areas and we’re going to continue to do that,” said the Patriots defensive captain. “Because Bill’s going to put the pressure us and we’re going to have to execute. If we execute our game plan and stop giving up mental mistakes and big plays we’ll be alright. I think the guys know that.”
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While the defense was getting crushed by their critics for giving up big yard totals early in the season, Wilfork said they ignored all the talk and focused on what needed to be done to improve.
“We know exactly what we have in this locker room. We know exactly what we have as a defense. We don’t pay attention to all that because we grind every day,” said Wilfork. “There are things that we do, they’re just simple mistakes and they are fixable. That’s what keeps us just grinding and eager to continue do better.”
“The last couple weeks, I think we’ve seen more consistent play across the board. That’s exactly what we need. We don’t need one individual getting better; we need this whole unit getting better. And we’ve seen that,” said Wilfork.
While the defense has proven they can buckle down in the Red Zone and improve on their league-worst 322 passing yards per game, one thing the Pats lacked in their 20-16 win over the Cowboys was good tackling. They missed a lot of them, allowing Dallas to pick up yards after the catch, and making life a lot more difficult then it should have been.
Wilfork says that is an easy fix though.
“I always say tackling is an attitude,” he said. “We had chances to tackle, and we missed some tackles, but we had guys flying around, coming up delivering the blows instead of wrapping them up. We thought we were going to get them off one hit. But that’s an easy fix, wrap up. Don’t come in with your head down, expecting that guy to go down on one hit, and don’t expect one guy to make the tackle. The more we swarm to the ball, the better you’re tackling will be.”
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“When you leave guys one –on-one that’s a tough matchup,” said Wilfork. “There are only a few people that can make that play, because the guys carrying the ball, they get paid too.”
“I think it will get better, but it’s up to that individual,” he added.
Wilfork will remain in town over the weekend, and participate in the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk to End Diabetes.
The disease hit home for Wilfork, who lost his father to diabetes when he was a young boy.
“For 14 years he was diabetic,” Wilfork said of his father. “I’ve seen the ups and downs; it was tough. Being an 8-year-old young fellow… basically have to inject my father at times because he was so weak. My brother and I had to shower him, take him to the restroom when he needed to use it. Those things I remember. I know things firsthand how it can affect the household.”
Wilfork says awareness of Diabetes is getting better, but not where it needs to be. He urged men to get tested more often, because catching it early can make a big difference.
“Us as men, we sometimes let it be. And that’s the worst thing,” said Wilfork. “Every year, I have a doctor that comes in to give me a physical every year. It just takes a little time.”
Having the disease hit home, it was an easy choice for Wilfork to participate in this weekend’s walk.
“When you have a group working for the same cause, it’s always (a major) benefit. Hopefully it will be a great turnout. I’m looking forward to it.”