Numbers don't tell story of Vince Wilfork's importance

Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork isn’t having the kind of statistical year he usually does. Aside from his two highlight-reel interceptions, he has just 25 tackles along with his two sacks in a more attacking defense.

He’s taken some time to acclimate himself to 4-3 scheme. But Wilfork’s true importance comes in how he allows others to make plays. For teams who thrive running the ball— like the Chiefs on Monday night—they will have to double-team him. Everyone does.

That allows single-blocking on players like defensive ends Andre Carter and Mark Anderson, and the pair combined for five sacks on Sunday. That’s huge.

When Wilfork isn’t on the field, like one drive in the second quarter of the Jets game, replacements Kyle Love and Gerard Warren don’t draw two blockers. That affects the entire scheme.

In fact, the 6-foot-2, 325-pounder may be the most essential player on defense, and that will be the case against the Chiefs, too. Captain Jerod Mayo often gets free of blockers because of Wilfork’s shield.

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