Speaking during his weekly appearance on The Big Show, Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork talked extensively about the perception of linebacker Brandon Spikes.
After the Patriots' 37-31 win over the Bills Sunday, Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick called Spikes "a punk, at times," having been driven to the ground by Spikes on a third-quarter hit, resulting in a personal foul penalty. Spikes also drove Buffalo running back Fred Jackson from the game with a hit late in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble that the Bills ultimately recovered.
"I tell you what, I wouldn't be a fan of Spikes either when he's knocking the hell out of people every time," Wilfork said when asked about the comment. "I wouldn't be a fan either.
"I tell you one thing, when this defense needs a play, that is probably the first guy you look at on our defense to make a play, which he did. Plain and simple. I think he's probably one of the most hard-hitting, most feared linebackers in the game. You can put him up with whomever you want to put him up with. I would take him over any of them, because I know when it's time to go and when it's time to get after it and we need the ball knocked off of somebody -- not just making somebody drop -- take the ball away, he's the first person I would turn to. He gave it to us again yesterday. He had a hell of a hit on Jackson and that ball was loose. I wouldn't be a big fan of him either if I had to take hits from him all day, so you have to take it with a grain of salt."
Wilfork explained he has a unique perspective on at the reputation Spikes has seemingly garnered, having been classified as one of the NFL's dirtiest players early on in his career. The defensive lineman admitted that he had to adjust to the times, a lesson he is trying to pass on to his teammate.
"You just have to watch yourself, because I was in a similar situation a couple of years ago where you have to alter your game," Wilfork said. "You have to alter it just enough so you can stay aggressive and don't shy away from what you do best. And it's tough. it's very, very tough to do. Now you're talking about a linebacker and they're hitting every play. Just like a running back, they're running the ball every play so they're in the mix on every play with something. So it's going to be tough, but at the same time you have to do that in this game because the spotlight is going to be on him. I'll be the first to tell him because, like I said, I was there before too where I had to alter my game.
"It's frustrating because it takes away from guys being aggressive. It takes away from the game itself. Years and years and years of football that's been played before, it just wipes that stuff away because it doesn't exist anymore. That type of football don't exist anymore. So you don't have the clothesline. You don't have the receiver coming across the middle getting his head knocked off. You don't have those types of plays anymore because of the way the game is going, and I think that's disrespectful for the guys who lay the foundation for us. When you talk about great players, you think about guys who are known for hitting and you wipe that away because of this new era in football. But, you know what, as long as it's the new era of football, and that's what they want, you have to alter your game to play with that until you get tired of it. To me, I'm a football player and I love looking at those old highlights. I love seeing people get knocked off because receivers used to fear running across the field. But now you have receivers running across right in front of people because they know they're protected with flags and protected by the league. This is definitely a league for offense for offenses nowadays."
To listen to the entire interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.
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