Vince Wilfork made his weekly appearance on The Big Show on Tuesday and said New England's defense has to find a way to get in the flow of the game earlier. The past two games New England has fallen behind by large deficits against division foes Miami and Buffalo before storming back for victories in the second half. The Patriots finished the regular season atop the AFC, thus earning a bye week. New England is scheduled to play their first playoff game on Saturday, Jan. 14, in the divisional round.
“We have to do a better job of making plays early,” Wilfork said. “We have to keep preaching it. Sooner or later, we have to start figuring it out and having it click early on. We can't wait until the second quarter or third or fourth series. We have to keep practicing, and hopefully we can get it.”
New England was the top seed in last year's postseason but lost at home to the Jets. The Patriots have failed to win a playoff game since the 2007-08 season, when they beat San Diego in the AFC championship game, 21-12. Wilfork said the team does not reflect on past postseason shortcomings or triumphs.
“We don't compare [this year's team] to last year, or the last two or three years,” he said. “Each year is different. You never see us walking around talking about '04 when we won it all. Last year is last year. We're not going to look back to last year, and try to figure out what happened. It's not worth it. Our goal is how to prepare to play good football Saturday. That's the only thing we have in mind. We always try to keep the past with the past, and deal with the present. Right now the present is the 2011-12 Patriots.”
Wilfork said New England has put itself in prime position and needs to capitalize with a strong week of preparation as well as maintaining health.
“It starts with a great week of practice," Wilfork said. "We need everyone as close to healthy as you can get. It's been a tough long season so far, we have to take advantage [of the bye week]. It is so easy to party and go out to have trouble find you. You have to be smart and ready to work, but you also need to use this time get your body the rest it needs to play. With this group of guys I don't think we'll have any problems of guys going out, doing any bonehead stuff. This is a special group of guys, we fight for one goal."
The maligned Patriots defense, anchored by Wilfork, is something the four-time Pro-Bowler knows can improve. “We haven't looked pretty,” Wilfork said. “It hasn't happened like what we wrote down in the book or like guys expected. We haven’t played 60 minutes of good football yet. But what we have done is been able to win, and that's what good football teams are able to do. Sometimes we don't get credit because of the statistics we've given up.”
In last year's playoff game, momentum shifted gears when Tom Brady was intercepted by David Harris of the Jets in the first quarter. Wilfork said his defense can similar provide game-changing turnovers for New England, despite its disappointing regular season.
“This game is decided on scoring points and being able to take the ball away,” Wilfork said. “Can we get better? Absolutely. Can we knock down yardage [given up]? Absolutely. It is what it is, but we have to do a better job.”
Ryan Hadfield contributed to this report.
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox left fielder, who had five hits in the Sox win in Baltimore.
Rob Bradford is joined by both Lou Merloni and Curt Schilling to discuss the recent controversy involving Manny Machado, Dustin Pedroia, Matt Barnes and their respective teams. The two former major leagues offer insight to how baseball handles (and should handle) hitting batters as an act of revenge, with their own stories of involving similar situations as the one that unfolded in Baltimore. They also break down the decision to take Chris Sale out of his last start after eight innings. The former pitcher and batter cover it all from every angle.
Hour 4. Bradford joins the show to defend the fact that he attends Ortiz’s charity event for free. Alex doesn’t think it was unethical to out Hernandez.
Hour 3. Kirk goes on his second rant of the day. Minihane orders Alex’s and Gerry’s mics to be turned off and hosts the show by himself.
Hour 2. The guys talk discuss Hernandez’s gay lover with Reimer. Reimer says there aren’t a lot of straight guys looking to experiment. Bradford tells Mut he paid for his wife to attend the Ortiz charity event.
HOUR 3 - ESPN layoffs continue. One time Fauria didn't know Sage Steele's name so he called her "Rashard." ESPN has pretty much decided to punt on hockey. Marcus Smart responds to Jimmy Butler. Glenn dreams of the Celtics adding Gordon Hayward in the offseason.
HOUR 4 - The guys kept us updated on the wave of ESPN firings. Paul was blocked by Pete Abe. Fauria still hates Dan Dakich. Will Gerald Green be a factor, again, tonight? The lawyer for Kyle Kennedy (Aaron Hernandez' rumored gay lover) Larry Army gave a press conference.
Some house cleaning is being done at ESPN as reports of employee cuts begin to come out. And how pissed/not pissed should Matt Barnes be?
The article didn't actually reveal anything that wasn't already public record, but the Globe "expose" on Brady and his relationship with the Best Buddies charity certainly has everybody around here talking about it.
We spend some time talking Sox as news of the rain cancellation comes down. A few more thoughts on the spat in Baltimore and Dustin Pedroia, plus David Price takes to twitter for his "media session".
Dollar beer night in Houston!
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis are in after a Reimer Wednesday edition of K&C to recap a virtuoso Kirk Minihane off-the-rails performance
Buck and Reimer debate over whether it’s appropriate to speculate about Aaron Hernandez’s sexuality. Buck says his sources don’t corroborate what Michele McPhee and the Daily Mail have reported about the disgraced ex-NFL star’s love life. Reimer disagrees with the Boston Globe's assertion that there's a homophobic element to the Hernandez story.
Buck and Reimer share their coming out stories and discuss the different ways they decided to reveal their sexualities. Buck waited until more than 30 years into his career, whereas Reimer announced he was gay during his second appearance on WEEI. On that note, Buck presses Reimer on whether he's exploiting his sexuality to further his career.
Hour 3. Kirk goes on his second rant of the day. Minihane orders Alex’s and Gerry’s mics to be turned off and hosts the show by himself.More from this show
Danny talks about the Red Sox and Orioles game and the fireworks in the 8th inning when Matt Barnes threw at Manny Machado. Pedroia was shown talking to Machado saying he wouldn't have thrown at his head and Danny wants to know how bad does this make Pedroia look throwing a teammate under the bus.More from this show
Hour 4. Crazy Al calls in for the second day in a row. A terrible caller tries to make a point. The Arkansas inmates had interesting last meals. Tomase’s epic acceptance speech.More from this show
Hour 1. Mut joins Kirk and Gerry. The guys can’t believe neither Boston newspaper covered the Hernandez sexuality story. Over the weekend, the Globe’s Bob Hohler wrote a slanted piece about Tom Brady’s work with charity.More from this show
Hour 1. In a wild opening segment, Kirk and Gerry lash out at the Globe and Joe Sullivan. Reimer weighs in on Cyd Ziegler’s Hernandez take. Michael Holley thinks the Globe would do the same story on Ortiz as they did on Brady and Best Buddies.More from this show