Sep 21, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork (75) smiles after making an interception during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Q: Can you describe that last play?
VW: Well, I always try to read the quarterback, especially the type of defense that we were in – rushing only three and knowing that we couldn’t get tied up up front. We always try to tell people to stay in front of the quarterback and maybe you can get a tipped ball or bat a ball down or something like that. I was more concerned not to get tied up so I hit the center and then I kind of came back and they started following me a little bit –I thought it was going to be illegal men down the field. After that, I saw the quarterback release the ball and I just turned. I had some defenders there with me and the ball bobbled and luckily I just came up with the play. That was a great defensive play. I was just happening to catch it. We always preach running to the ball and doing little stuff like that can make a big difference, where you can always find the ball if it’s fumbled, or any type of turnover. And that’s what happened. I credit my whole team. Being able to have him come to a check down that close to the line of scrimmage, that means nobody in the end zone was open, so that was his last resort to come down to him and luckily we made the play.
Q: Talk about them flexing you out a bit. It was almost like the position you played in college. It allows you to do some other things.
VW: I think once the game got going, we kind of figured that we could take advantage of some different looks. We made a few calls where we could get a little penetration and see if we could cause some havoc in the backfield and stuff, so we did a little of that stuff, but for the most part I think we just played sound up front, a lot of good technique up front. It wasn’t perfect, by any means, but we did a real good job, I think, overall playing 60 minutes of football, playing with our hands, being physical, facing a good running back, a big offensive line. I think we held our own today.
Q: Talking about team defense, do you guys have the feeling that until your offense gets things going, there’s going to be a lot on you guys as a unit?
VW: We know we’re going to be ok. That’s the last thing that we’re even thinking about – our offense or special teams. We have some of the best players in those positions and some of the best coaches in those positions, so defensively we want to be the best. A lot of times we go out there not even thinking about what our offense has done or what special teams has done. Our main job every day is to get the ball back for the offense, create field position, create long yardage situations to make our defense shine. So I’m not worried about our offense being where we’re at because I know those guys are going to get it turned it around, and once they do, hopefully we can continue to get the ball back and play solid, good defense. Our job is to just continue to play solid defense. Everything will fall on its own because we gave up nine points today and that was enough to get a W.
Q: As the leader of the defense, when things don’t go the way you want, you must get frustrated. When you look at Tom Brady on a day like today where things didn’t go his way and say, ‘I’ve been there’?
VW: You know, I think the frustration comes when you know you have good players and you have good play calls and you get frustrated and you’re disappointed when you don’t execute. I think a lot of times when we play bad football, it’s because of our execution. We always revert back to the film and correct the mistakes and stuff and it gets to a point where you’re like, ‘You know what guys, we’re too good to make these mistakes. We’re too good not to execute this.’ And you fix them – you try to fix them. I have nothing but pure confidence in our team – not just our offense, but our team, that we’re going to continue to fix our mistakes. Defensively, we weren’t perfect today either. We’ve got to make sure that we continue to get better defensively. And being able to play – offense, special teams and defense – play as a team, that’s the main goal. If we can do that, then we’ll be successful in this league. Maybe some games we’ll play where teams might be just better than us, but you can’t fault guys for trying and getting it their all and that’s what we strive to do.
Q: From the first game to this game now, are you at least pleased with the progression and improvements that you’ve made?
VW: Yeah. I think it’s – we’re not where we want to me, by any means, but at the same token, we’re better than where we were there weeks ago. That’s a positive. That’s a positive. Every day, every week, we take something out of the film room, the mistakes we made, and we correct them. That’s the sign of a good football team: you can make those adjustments and those corrections and put them together on a Sunday or Monday, whenever you play, and see the corrections on the same play you screwed up two weeks ago, you got it right now. And I think two weeks now, playing in Minnesota and playing the Raiders today, we saw some plays that hurt us against the Dolphins where it really wasn’t a problem these past two weeks. It just shows me that a lot of guys are taking it really personally, they’re coming to work, they’re correcting the mistakes and we’re getting better as a team. That’s what we’re going to need to be at our best.
Q: Devin McCourty just referred to you as ‘Wilfork Island’ with that interception and mentioned that you’re tied for the lead on the team in interceptions right now. Can you talk about that?
VW: I mean, I think it was a team play. Like I said, knowing the situation we were in, it was a three-man rush and the main thing I didn’t want to do was get tied up at the line of scrimmage because they had more guys to block. We only had three and they have five and sometimes they keep an extra guy in for them to make sure they have protection, so I just wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t get tied up and just read the quarterback. If everybody is going their job, which they were, he’d have to either scramble with the ball or come to a check down. And once he came to the check down, I was lucky to have some defenders already there that batted the ball around a little bit and I just happened to catch it. The credit doesn’t go all to me; the credit goes to the defense. Because without the coverage in the end zone, without the man-to-man coverage we were in, without the bobbled ball, without the two other guys on the line of scrimmage rushing with me, that play probably wouldn’t have happened, so that’s a great defensive play.
Q: Does it feel good to get a play like that?
VW: Absolutely. It always feels good to get an interception.