It is often difficult to get an accurate read on where the Patriots stand from conversations with players, but three of them – one from each level of the team’s defense – had a few words to share with Patriot Nation yesterday; here’s what they had to say.


Vince Wilfork

“It looked like peaches and cream, but I think (Patriots’ Head Coach) Bill (Belichick) hit it on the head when he said it looked good, but it really wasn’t and then things looked bad and it really wasn’t. You can take the good and the bad out of that game, especially in the first quarter. They had eleven yards rushing, but we still had mental errors, people missed assignments and stuff like that. In preseason you’re going to have that. We went out and wanted to hit the ground running and we did. There were mistakes, but that is why you have the preseason and training camp to work on, look back on film and correct those things. That is what we try to do each week.”

“With a Bill Belichick football team he is going to put anything out there on the field, so we can’t sit there and say we’re going to run this scheme, or that scheme. From Bill Belichick he looks at what he has, and from a a defensive line standpoint whatever he feels comfortable doing he is going to try because he has a lot of guys that can play a lot of positions on his football team. Not just on the defensive line, on his football team. Like last year you saw me move around from nose to both defensive end spots. That is what Bill likes, he likes guys that can move around and if we want to throw a wrinkle we can throw a wrinkle and he is OK with that. He is going through the proper steps and feel comfortable putting those people in those situations. So whatever he throws out there we are going to be well prepared.

“Just knowing the playbook, you have to know with the calls coming into the game what is your job. Sometimes it is rushing up field, sometimes it is two-gap, but you need to be in the classroom and understand a good defensive linemen and a good football player understands the guys around him and what is their job. At times you have to know that and myself I look at a lot of film, and I play a lot of positions on the defensive line so I have to know that. I take pride in knowing that. You have to be on your toes at all time because you can get it at anytime with Bill Belichick.”

“Any football player that’s aggressive loves to attack. So at times, it calls for us to attack, and at times, it calls for us to sit back and play some good technique. But I was always told, when the coach gives you leeway to go make a play, you better make it count.”



Rob Ninkovich

“I really haven’t done everything (regarding playing 3-4 OLB, 4-3 OLB, or 4-3 DE). Before, I was really just a D-end or the 3-4. For me, I’ve always been getting after the quarterback since I was college, so it’s not like a huge change to rush (the quarterback). Either I’m standing up or in the three-point stance, it’s not a big deal. Working on coverage, that’s the biggest thing that I’ve done in camp, just work on my coverage, continue to improve on that so I can have the coaches’ confidence that I’m going to cover the guys that I need to cover.”

“I like to do both, change it up. Sometimes, even in 4-3, standing up just to change it up at times is a good thing. I can rush out of the two or the three. It really doesn’t matter. The three-point stance sometimes is just a better get-off stance, just like a sprinter would be down. I’m not going to start a race changing up.”



Devin McCourty

“I know right now, at this point, we’re not ready. But hopefully we keep working, and these next three weeks, it will all come together, good enough just to go out there and play in that season opener.”

“It feels like we’re getting better. I think the important thing right now is, kind of, we grow as a unit, grow as a defense, just as a team going out there and taking the field together, being on the same page.”

“I think that’s coming along and that’s encouraging when you can take the field and hopefully we’ll have all 11 guys on the field on the same page.”