Will Vince Wilfork be back in 2015?

Photo credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Back in March of this year, it seemed that Vince Wilfork and the Patriots’ time had come to a bitter end. The Patriots wanted to restructure Big Vince coming off his injury, but reports had Wilfork storming out of the locker-room and wanting out of New England. The situation seemed toxic until March 27th when Adam Schefter reported that Vince Wilfork had restructured.

The 2004 Patriots first round pick showed why he is a defensive captain by playing in all 16 games, the 8th time in 11 season for Wilfork. Big Vince also recorded 47 combined tackles, an interception and is always a cornerstone in the Patriots rush defense that is currently ranked 9th in football and has contributed to the 8th best defense in points allowed in 2014.

There is a terrific article on the coaching trends in football changing and Belichick being a genius on defense and staying one step ahead. Basically the article explains that most defenses ran a base package of either a 3-4, or 4-3 and in obvious passing situations, the offense would then deploy 3 WR’s. The defense would then react by deploying a nickel coverage (5 defensive backs).

The way the NFL has trended in recent seasons, it’s much more spread formation, even on first and second downs, so the defenses base packages look more like the older sub packages. The base defenses are different now and formulated to be more of a pass defense than in prior years. A guy like Belichick gets the credit (as he should), but a guy like Wilfork makes this scheme much easier for Bill.

The numbers never jump off the board like in JJ Watt’s case, but Vince Wilfork provides the defensive line with stability and a big body to plug the gap between the guards and generally takes up two interior bodies. This means that players that don’t excel in run defense have an easier time doing what they do best – pass defend.

With Belichick resting players against Buffalo this past week, there was an opportunity for some troubled waters if Wilfork was asked to sit out. Stipulated in his contract, he got an additional $1.25 million in incentives for playing 70% of the time, which Wilfork has now earned this season. He also got $600,000 in the form of 5 weigh-ins to make sure he was within a certain weight bracket. Wilfork held his end of the bargain and Belichick held his on Sunday.

In Wilfork’s restructured contract, it included a team option that the Patriots would have to exercise by the end of the 2014 league year. If exercised, Wilfork would be back for the 2015 and 2016 NFL seasons. So, let us be the first to get it started – Bring back Big Vince!

 

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