In the aftermath of former teammate Rodney Harrison's suggestion that the Patriots have the worst pass defense in at least a decade, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, in his weekly appearance on The Big Show, said that he has never picked up a phone to call a commentator, particularly an ex-teammate like Harrison. However, Wilfork acknowledged that when he hears such criticsm, he would love nothing more than to call the author of the comment.
"I want to. I want to do it all the time and tell them to shut the 'f' up. But everybody has a job to do," said Wilfork. "You have to respect their job. People have opinions. It’s just an opinion. If that’s how they feel, that’s how they feel. The only thing we can control is this locker room.
"A lot of things they say have some truth to it," he acknowledged. "Yeah, we’re pretty bad giving up yardage and everything, but guess what? We find ways to win. Good football teams find a way to win. ... We ignore the noise. We just have to keep a level head and control what we can control, and that’s on the field."
Even so, in the aftermath of New England's 34-27 win over the Redskins on Sunday, Wilfork suggested that there was plenty upon which his unit needed to improve. He cited the team's poor performance against the Washington running game (an issue that is likely to be tested anew against the ground-heavy offense of Denver on Sunday) and the team's failure to put the game away early, when the Pats were up 14-3 with a third-and-long situation. A defensive penalty kept the Washington drive alive, and an eventual touchdown helped to keep the Redskins in the game until the final moments.
"When you have a team down and can taste blood, you’ve got to be able to finish them off. We didn’t do that. Luckily, Mayo made the play at the end of the game to seal it for us," said Wilfork. "I think we started real fast and finished the ballgame with a couple punts and an interception to seal it. That was very encouraging from a defensive standpoint.
"But we still haven’t played 60 minutes. All year, we haven’t played a game 60 minutes. I’m telling you, it’s going to be very scary whenever we do decide to play 60 minutes, it’s going to be a scary football team. I want to see exactly what we’re going to put up, what we’re going to give up, when we decide to play 60 minutes. We’re going to keep harping on it, and hopefully it will click for us. But as long as we keep winning, it’s the only thing that matters to me."
As the Patriots get ready to play Denver, Wilfork offered respect for both the Broncos and quarterback Tim Tebow.
"One thing I can tell you about Tebow, he’s a winner, point blank," said Wilfork. "He’s faced the same thing this year. He’s not a typical quarterback, he can’t do this, he can’t do that. ... He wins. Regardless of where he’s been, he wins. You have to respect that.
"They have a bunch of guys around him, also. It’s not just about Tebow," he added. "A lot of credit has to go to the defense. The defense stepped up big time. Tebow gets all the credit, but trust me, it’s everyone in that locker room."