Moving Wilfork around also creates more opportunities for him to show off his athleticism, freakish for a man his size.
Wilfork’s return on his first career interception, when New England hosted San Diego last season, is just one example. He read Philip Rivers’s eyes, tipped the ball to himself, and rumbled down the Chargers’ sideline, stiff-arming at least one player along the way.
“He’s an extremely large human being,” said Patriots guard Donald Thomas, no small guy himself. “And for his size, he has great explosiveness. Once he gets going, it’s hard to stop him, unless you take a perfect fit and you know exactly what he’s going to do. If not, you see what he can do to people.”
Thomas played against Wilfork with the Dolphins in 2009, and does not have fond memories of the experience.
“It was rough,” Thomas said. “It was like, you see the film, but you don’t really get a chance to know how powerful he is until you get a chance to feel it. All you can do is just try to do what you’re taught and hold on.”
Wilfork’s dominant performance against Houston had some wondering if he might be a dark-horse candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
According to the scout, in other years he likely would be.
But this year, with San Francisco’s Aldon Smith, who will be in Foxborough Sunday night, on pace to break the single-season sack record, the Texans’ J.J. Watt accumulating numbers like 16½ sacks and 15 pass deflections, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman with nine forced fumbles and two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns, not to mention the Broncos’ Von Miller, it’s a stacked field.
Asked if he believes this is his best season, Wilfork shrugged.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I never look at seasons and games, I don’t look at it like that. When I prepare, I prepare to win. If it comes with ‘best season,’ it’s not for me to say. I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide that.
“At the end of the day, I just want to help this ball club win. That’s what I’m all about, winning. You can have all the stats, but if you’re losing it don’t mean much. Winning is everything to me. At the end of the day, that’s what everybody gets paid for, to produce. To win. We do that, I’m a happy man.”