Posts Tagged ‘Vince Wilfork’

Front in Transition: Charting the Patriots’ Defensive Shift Beyond Rob Ninkovich vs. Dolphins

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
The Patriots showcased 17 different personnel combinations along the defensive line versus the Dolphins. Rob Ninkovich was part of only four. (Brad Barr - USA Today Sports Images)

The Patriots showcased 17 different personnel combinations along the defensive front versus the Dolphins. Rob Ninkovich was part of nine. (Brad Barr – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Over the course of 2013, the New England Patriots defensive line altered through 58 personnel groupings.

Part of it was scheme, as some players departed to the sidelines during short yardage or passing downs. Part of it was attrition, as some stayed on the sidelines for the duration.

Rob Ninkovich was not one of them.

His No. 50 jersey was spotted on the field for 1,114 snaps last season – according to Pro Football Focus – second to only teammate Chandler Jones among the league’s 4-3 defensive ends. And by the conclusion of Week 17, there were only 54 snaps in which Ninkovich hadn’t been seen on it.

In Sunday’s 33-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins in 2014 regular-season opener, there were 39.

Ninkovich was one of the first 11 on the field for the tilt at Sun Life Stadium. But the 6’2”, 260-pound edge-rusher was not a constant across from Jones.

That wasn’t necessarily a deviation from the 2013 campaign, which saw Ninkovich step back to outside linebacker when the Patriots moved from a four-man line to a three-man line. Yet something was different on Sept. 7. (more…)


58 Defensive Line Combinations: A 2013 Patriots Personnel Study

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The defensive line of the 2013 Patriots shifted in waves. Its components changed by the week, and in some cases, by the snap. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The 2013 New England Patriots defensive line was one of adaptation.

It was one of many faces and many alignments. And it was one composed of 15 players, forged by attrition.

For the collection of former draft picks and undrafted free agents, waiver claims and veteran free agents, it was about being greater than the sum of their parts. For head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and position coach Patrick Graham, on the other hand, it was about being interchangeable.

From Week 1 through Week 17, the New England’s defensive line was just that. But its identity remained unknown. There was no true first-team. There was no true base defense.

Its contributors and alignments shifted with each opponent, with each snap. (more…)


Vince Wilfork, Patriots Bend But Don’t Break Future Plans

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Vince Wilfork’s restructured return to New England was a compromise on what lies ahead. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

For 14 days, it seemed imminent.

It seemed as if his success in holding the point of attack on the field and the organization’s success in doing the same off the field would be their unraveling.

For Vince Wilfork and the New England Patriots, it seemed to be about pride.

But as two weeks of uncertainty wore on, so did the semblance of hope that the 10-year NFL veteran would restructure his $11.6 million salary cap hit to return to the team that drafted him 21st overall in 2004.

In the afternoon hours of March 27, that came to fruition, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the 32-year-old defensive tackle had re-signed on a one-year, $8 million deal with $2.6 million guaranteed and a two-year option worth up to $22.5 million.

His cleaned-out locker and torn-off nameplate would not spell the end of his stay in Foxborough, Mass.; it would only catalyze a new one. (more…)


2014 Patriots Off-Season: Salary Cap and Cap Space Breakdown

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Vince Wilfork Titans Patriots

What to do with Vince Wilfork… (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Now that the 2013 season is officially in the books, it means the entire football world turns their attention to the off-season. Player movement, trades, free agency, and the draft will all be front and center for the next four months.

For the Patriots it’s as important of an off-season that I can remember, at least as important as 2007 and 2009 when the Patriots completely retooled their offense.

Any plans and changes for the organization are contingent on cap space and the money available to be flexible. Here is a look inside the Patriots cap situation, where they stand, and how they can create money.

(more…)


Examining Patriots’ Injured Reserve, Non-Football Injury Lists

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Like several other Patriots, No. 67 Cory Grissom saw his 2013 season end before it began. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots 2013 campaign was one of attrition. Two captains were lost for the season by Week 6. A total of six starters were lost by the playoffs. And, per the Patriots official site, a collection of 13 players finished the year on injured reserve or the reserve/non-football injury list – excluding injury settlements.

New England’s season-ending injuries consisted of 16 Pro Bowl appearances and over $28.6 million in annual salary, according to Spotrac.com. The assortment consisted of both experience and youth, netting an average age of 26 years old. There were three veterans with at least 10 years of NFL tenure; there were five rookies and first-year players in the mix as well.

Yet now that the season itself has ended and the focus has turned to the offseason, what does it all mean for head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio? What could the future hold?

Let’s revisit the assortment of Patriots set to come off the injured lists. (more…)


Adapting to Attrition: How the Patriots Defense Replaced Vince Wilfork vs. Falcons

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Vince Wilfork’s season-ending Achilles injury has left the Patriots defense in search of answers. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots survived a 30-23 thriller against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night. But what will be felt longer than Week 4 win is the loss of All-Pro defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for the season.

In one play, the 31-year-old captain’s season came to an abrupt end with a torn Achilles tendon. In one play, the Patriots defense was forced to move on without its five-time Pro Bowler. And in one play, two undrafted rookie defensive tackles found themselves with big shoes to fill next to veteran Tommy Kelly.

The Patriots defensive front had no choice but to adapt.

(more…)


Defensive Continuity the Key to Patriots 2013 Success

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Devin McCourty Patriots Safety

Devin McCourty and the “old look” Patriots defense could shine in 2013. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

2007 changed everything for the Patriots. A team built on defense and a reliable offense in crunch time morphed into a high-powered, record breaking air attack with the acquisitions of Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

While exciting to watch and dominating for long stretches the 2007 season, it changed the Patriots philosophy on how to win football games. It became less about the defense and more about points on the scoreboard.

For the first time since 2007 the Patriots will have the opportunity to return to their championship philosophy and once again become a defense first team.

(more…)







  • Categories

  • Search NEPD Archives

  • Archives