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Vince Wilfork OTA Interview Transcript

Posted May 31, 2012

New England Patriots NT Vince Wilfork addresses the media during OTA player access on Thursday, May 31, 2012.

Q: Did you watch the Celtics game last night and what were your impressions?  

VW: Absolutely I watched it. I couldn't believe we blew a 15-point lead. That's heartbreaking, but they're fighting hard. They're fighting really hard, I still have faith and hopefully we can pull two away at home and get it back to even. [I'm] a big fan and I'm pulling for them.  

Q: Rajon Rondo takes that hit in the head, is that 15 yards out here?  

VW: Oh man that's a fine. Out here that's a fine. I wish them all the luck in the world. They've fought through a lot of battles and I'm pretty sure character is going to play a lot going into these next couple of games and how well they can play as a team. [It's] the same thing we do, how well we play as a team, I think you perform better [when] you trust teammates. I'm pulling for them.  

Q: Does that team remind you of this Patriots team and playing with a lot of heart?  

VW: A lot of heart. We play with a lot of heart and they play with a lot of heart. It's a tough football team and a tough basketball team but when you surround yourself with good people, good athletes and a good organization, people seem to flock to you. People want to come there and be a part of something that's good and they have something that's special. A lot of people wrote them off a long time ago and we've been written off around here a lot also, so it really doesn't matter what people say, it's all about that locker room. That's what it comes down to – in that locker room, playing for one another and for the team. Hopefully they can get it done. I'll be there. I'm pulling. I'm a big fan and they have a bunch of fans in my household. Hopefully they can get it done.  

Q: Four months removed from losing the Super Bowl and coming that close in the last two minutes, what kind of effect does it have on you individually and what kind of effect does it have on the team?  

VW: No effect. It has no effect on me. You start back from where you started before, from zero. That's where I'm at now. You really can't dwell over spoiled milk. Last year was last year, that's how you have to look at it and keep rolling. You have to be a professional. When it comes down to it you have to be a professional about everything and that plays a big part now. We have to be able to move forward. I've moved forward and I'm excited to play football. This is my life and this is what I dreamed of doing. I'm back at it, we're back it and we're having fun doing it.  [I've] been running a couple of routes and look good out there. Tom [Brady] gave me a couple of balls, looked pretty good out there –   

Q: Did you catch them?  

VW: Absolutely I caught them. My drops are looking pretty good back in the backend, so I'm getting back to my old self. A couple more vertical routes by me and I think I'll be ready to go.  

Q: Are you happy with the way this team reloaded, especially on defense?  

VW: You know you can never doubt the capability of this organization and what they do. I'm just happy to be back. Whoever we have, we have a lot of faith in them and if we didn't they wouldn't be here. Hopefully we can get this thing started fast. I'm excited about the upcoming season and I'm looking forward to camp, but when camp gets started I'll be ready for it to end. It's an exciting time when you can get back to doing something you love and something you've been doing for a long time. It's always exciting.  

Q: If you had any advice for the Celtics what you would give them?  

VW: Continue to play hard, that's it. Trust one another and just play hard. That's all you can ask.  

Q: I hear a lot of the guys talking about Tom Brady's new video for Under Armour. Have you seen it?  

VW: No I haven't seen it, but Tom is Tom I guess. I'll have to check it out.  

Q: Is Tom Brady a Hollywood guy?  

VW: I don't know, I'm going to have to check him out. He's not a Hollywood guy around here, he's Tom to us.  

Q: You have a new defensive line coach. Pepper Johnson didn't leave per se, but he's the only line coach you've had. Any thoughts on that move and Patrick Graham coming in to coach your group?  

VW: It really won't affect us in a different way. I think we all talk the same way and that's one good thing that you can always count on. Everybody knows each other's job and that goes for the coaches as well. That move really isn't a big move for us, but like you said, I've been around Pep for a long time, for eight years I've been around him with him being my coach and everything, so it was kind of surprising at the same time because I've been around him so much. It seems like he never left our room. He didn't go too far, he just went to the linebackers and he's a linebacker at heart.  

Q: Any early impressions of Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette and Justin Francis?  

VW: I don't want to go there with these guys. I just want to wait and see how we unfold as a team and that's later down the road. Right now it's so early and the main thing I'm focused on is getting myself back and going and getting myself back to good playing shape and moving back around and then we'll go from there. Like I said, it's hard for this organization to not be successful in picking up guys and whoever they bring in they think they can help this ball club. There's no question in my mind that down the road we'll be happy about everything.  

Q: What is it like getting used to Jonathan Fanene?  

VW: It's a trust issue. I think the quicker you can trust somebody, the quicker you can learn and teach people things and get on the same page with one another I think the better you'll be. That's the phase we're in now with OTAs – just getting together and getting familiar with one another. Some guys have been around here and some guys haven't. Just being able to go out there and work with one another and see how we work off each other. You go from there and you build chemistry like that and that's what we're doing now.   

Q: You're a guy who had to wait to get paid by this team. Have you offered Wes Welker any advice or thoughts?  

VW: Wes is going to handle his situation however he wants to handle it. Everybody is different and you can't fault anybody for handling their business. I'll let Wes' business be Wes' business and I'll let Wes speak on his situation with that.  

Q: You have to be happy that's he's here.  

VW: I'm happy to have him. He's one of the best receivers in the game and coming off the year he had, he's probably one of our best players and one of the best players around the league. I'm happy that he's back rolling with us for at least another year.  

Q: How important will it be this year for the defense to do a better job getting off the field on third down?  

VW: That's always an issue. If you can force teams into third downs, then you have to be able to get off the field. Sometimes we did and sometimes we didn't. Every year that's a focus point. Being able to get turnovers defensively, get off the field on third down and create negative plays, all of those things are goals that we want to achieve throughout the year. The first step to all of that is now. Getting guys in here for OTAs, getting familiar with one another, seeing how each other plays and getting the system down and just working on things that you need work on. That's what we're doing now and hopefully that can pay off for us. Every year around this time I'm excited because we're getting closer and closer to doing something I love, and that's playing football. We're only a few months away and then we'll really be getting after it.  

Q: So many teams run a spread offense and get rid of the ball quickly. Does that change the importance of certain offensive line positions? The old thought was that left tackle is the most important by far, but is it different now?  

VW: I don't know. To me an offensive lineman is an offensive lineman. You can see some of them playing different positions, with some guards moving in to play center and some tackles moving in to play guard due to injuries, whatever it may be. Versatility plays a huge factor in football, not just with offensive linemen or offensively. I think the more positions you can play the better you are for your team. Over the years you've seen a lot of guys on the New England Patriots get shuffled around. A tackle might end up coming inside, a guard might end up coming inside and a backup center might end up going to guard, stuff like that. The more that you can do is better for the team.  

Q: Last week Matt Light was talking about your championship teams and the defenses that had swagger and intimidation. He said that you guys were young and you were trying to establish that. Is that a fair assessment of this defense?  

VW: I think that he's right. It was a level that, you had guys that played this game for a long time, had been in this system for a long time and they just knew how to play. When you're around something for so long you adapt, you can start doing some different things and move around differently because you know it so well. Being a young defense [last year], I think with the lockout and all of that, I think we struggled at certain points with some of the things that we did. Hopefully it can better this year. I think the OTAs are good for us and are definitely good for a younger team. We've got a younger defense and I'm not saying we're too young, but at the same time it helps to be able to get together and get the little things out of the way that can make a big, big difference down in the season. I think some of those things we can get done now. We're trying now. With OTAs we're trying and every day we put something different in and every day guys are coming in to work. That's what it's going to take. You have to strive to get better and that's where I'm at right now – striving to get better and hopefully my teammates are doing the same thing.

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