FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Former Patriots center Dan Koppen returns to face his old team for the first time, which highlights a key 1-on-1 matchup with New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
Wilfork, who played with Koppen for eight-plus seasons and says he will always be a friend of his, deflected talk on the 1-on-1 battle.
"Being with him for nine years, I know Koppen, he knows me also a little bit," he said. "It is what it is when it comes down to that. I dont think either one of us -- it's no different for either one us. It's going in, trying to win a ballgame. It's Denver vs. the Patriots, not the Patriots vs. Koppen or Koppen vs. the Patriots. It is what it is, the nature of the business, and you have to deal with it."
After enduring countless practices together, Wilfork said he remembers Koppen's intelligence most.
"He's smart football player. He's a smart football player," Wilfork told reporters on Wednesday, before stressing again that the focus of Sunday is not on an individual matchup.
"One thing that we're not going to try to do is make it a Dan Koppen vs. the Patriots or the Patriots vs. Dan Koppen. We've seen guys come and go and played against guys that have been here, been teammates before. It's never been a problem, and we don't want it to be a problem this week. Our job is to go out and play well, perform very well."
Despite the familiarity with Koppen, Wilfork said he still has to stick to his normal routine of extensive film study on his upcoming opponent.
"Absolutely. You kidding me?" he said with a laugh. "I still have to study some film. That can't go out the window just for one guy. I still have to do what I've been doing, and that's to prepare well. You know what, I will, this team will. We just have to execute. I think if we execute we'll be in pretty good shape."