Wilfork and struggles with 'sub' runs

September, 20, 2010
9/20/10
2:15
PM ET
Patriots fans can pick up several newsworthy nuggets from listening to "Patriots Monday" programming on sports radio WEEI, and one thing that was learned today is the team's continued struggles with "sub" runs.

Nose tackle Vince Wilfork spoke passionately about it during his weekly appearance on the "Dale & Holley Show."

Wilfork told co-hosts Dale Arnold and Michael Holley that he put himself in the role of an opposing offensive coordinator and asked himself the question: "If things aren't going well, what would I do?"

Wilfork's answer was that he would get the Patriots out of their base 3-4 defense, and try running the ball.

It turns out that's what the Jets did in the third quarter, when the momentum of the game started to swing.

"We’ve been having problems with sub runs all year, going back to last year," Wilfork said. "The one thing that can hurt us, the run they chose, the weak zone, we talked about and didn’t execute.

"Stuff like that irriates me," Wilfork continued. "We should be clicking. We should have guys thinking that way, one step ahead. People hurt us on stuff that has hurt us in the past. Sub runs – that’s sticking with us until it stops."

After reviewing notes from the game, the two plays that must have bothered Wilfork the most came on the Jets' second offensive possession of the third quarter.

The Jets put personnel on the field that they knew would have the Patriots countering with their nickel package -- 4 defensive linemen, 2 linebackers, 5 defensive backs -- and they handed off to running back LaDainian Tomlinson for gains of 14 and 11 yards.

Prior to those runs, the Jets had totaled 36 yards on 12 carries for a paltry 3.0 average. All but one of those runs came against the Patriots' base 3-4 alignment.

So the switch to sub runs was one of the games within the game.

Credit the Jets for winning that battle.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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