Let’s kick off Friday with a check-in with Big Vince in this great new piece from NFL Films. Leaves little doubt he’ll be back next year and ready to go.
In fact, free-agent defensive tackle Andre Neblett said Wilfork has played an important role in easing his transition to the team after he signed a one-year deal with a $630,000 base salary on Wednesday. “He was here, in a couple of meetings, sitting in there giving us advice,” Neblett said Friday. “I see we have a lot of young guys on the D-line and it was great for him to come in and help us.”
Just trying to get my thoughts out pic.twitter.com/OIVGEbfpy6— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) October 1, 2013
Thanking God for a successful surgery pic.twitter.com/matpmHlcgH— bianca wilfork (@mrs75) October 1, 2013
I’ve been letting it sink in all morning that Vince Wilfork is likely done for the season after tearing his achilles. In some ways losing Wilfork like this almost felt inevitable. One of the big themes I hit on all offseason was bringing in more defensive tackle help to ease the burden on big Vince.
Let’s look at the percentages of snaps Wilfork has played over the last four seasons:
2009: 51.8 percent
2010: 69.8 percent
2011: 86.8 percent
2012: 81.3 percent
That’s a lot of wear and tear on a man of his size, and it’s hard not to wonder if all that playing time finally caught up with him. It was clear that Wilfork was already playing with some kind of injury this year and that diminished his effectiveness. How much that had to do with this final achilles year is hard to say right now.
So where do the Pats go from here? There’s no question of Wilfork’s value to the defense and his ability to dominate the interior of the line. The lack of depth at defensive tackle has also been well discussed.
Tommy Kelly becomes the main guy inside, which I feel a lot better about than I would’ve had it been Kyle Love or Brandon Deaderick last year. Joe Vellano has held up pretty well inside, and it seems likely that Marcus Forston will get the call up from the practice squad. Rookie Chris Jones could contribute as well.
Of all the negativity and criticism surrounding the Pats at this moment, nothing worries me more than this…