Wilfork\\\'s weight loss could be Patriots\\\' gain
Vince Wilfork is part of a New England defense that was almost dead last in the NFL last year, but allocated seven veteran free agents and five draft picks to defense this year.One look at the slimmed...
Vince Wilfork is part of a New England defense that was almost dead last in the NFL last year, but allocated seven veteran free agents and five draft picks to defense this year.
One look at the slimmed-down Wilfork, now in his ninth training camp with the Patriots, and you know that's not true. Then again, Wilfork was listed at 325 pounds last year and you knew that wasn't true either.
Last year he weighed much more than 325. This year, it looks like he weighs much less.
"I lost a couple of pounds, no big deal," was all Wilfork would say.
Actually, it is. By coming into camp in the best shape of his career, the 31-year-old Wilfork is showing everyone just how much this season means to him.
"They say the older you get, the harder it gets, so I wanted to make sure I'm in tip-top shape coming into camp," said Wilfork. "Coming in for nine years, I just want to make sure I have good conditioning, that my body feels good. And it does."
The new-look Wilfork could be the poster child for the Patriots defense. Once again, New England is going to possess one of the top offenses in the league, with quarterback Tom Brady throwing to the deepest, most talented, crew of receivers he's ever had: wideouts Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth and Matthew Slater (whose true value is on special teams) and tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Visanthe Shiancoe.
The Patriots are going to score points. Lots of them.
It's going to be up to the defense to make sure they're enough. Last year the Patriots had the 31st-ranked defense in the 32-team NFL. Its weaknesses were glaring: poor pass rush, poor coverage in the secondary, poor tackling.
This offseason, the New England brain trust made move after move to correct that. New England signed seven veteran free agents -- defensive backs Will Allen, Steve Gregory and Marquice Cole, linebackers Bobby Carpenter and Trevor Scott, linemen Jonathan Fanene and Marcus Harrison -- and used its first five draft picks on defensive players, led by first-round selections Chandler Jones, a pass rusher from Syracuse, and Dont'a Hightower, an athletic linebacker from Alabama.
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