FOXBORO, Mass. — The pass rush has been a bright spot for the Patriots so far this preseason, piling up seven sacks in two games. But Vince Wilfork still isn’t impressed.
Wilfork isn’t exactly known for his pass-rushing prowess, managing just 16 sacks in nine seasons, including three in 2012, but the defensive captain knows how important creating pressure can be for a defense. After practice on Monday, the big nose tackle admitted he’s noticed the success of the pass rush in their first two preseason games, but he still sees room for improvement.
“It’s actually something to build on,” Wilfork said. “We’ve done a pretty good job, but we’re far from where we need to be. It’s just one aspect of the game.”
The Patriots sacked Eagles quarterbacks three times during their first preseason game, with Tommy Kelly, Marcus Benard and Joe Vellano splitting the total evenly among them. The Patriots upped the ante in game two, getting to Buccaneers quarterbacks four times in the game, with Brandon Spikes accounting for half of the total and both Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich taking one a piece. Even with the various points of pressure — inside, outside and from the linebacker position — Wilfork isn’t ready to praise them just yet. He’s got more important things to worry about.
“We’re trying to put four quarters together of good football — with the rush and the coverage and run defense, good special teams, offense,” Wilfork said. “So, we have to come together as a team in these upcoming weeks and hopefully we’ll be ready to play this upcoming season.”
Week 3 of the preseason is usually the closest thing teams will have to a regular season primer, so Wilfork and the Patriots should get a better feel for the full development of the pass rush in Detroit on Thursday.