New England Patriots: Jonathan Wilhite

Patriots defensive snap count

November, 23, 2009
A look at snaps played by Patriots defenders in the team’s 31-14 win over the Jets (as charted in the press box, small margin for error):

ILB Gary Guyton – 51 of 51 snaps
ILB Jerod Mayo – 51 of 51
S Brandon Meriweather – 51 of 51
CB Jonathan Wilhite – 51 of 51
CB Leigh Bodden – 50 of 51
S Brandon McGowan – 50 of 51
OLB/DE Adalius Thomas – 40 of 51
NT Vince Wilfork – 39 of 51
DE Mike Wright – 37 of 51
DE Ty Warren -- 34 of 52
OLB Tully Banta-Cain – 26 of 51
OLB Pierre Woods – 19 of 51
DE Derrick Burgess – 17 of 51
DT Myron Pryor – 17 of 51
CB Darius Butler – 12 of 51
S James Sanders – 9 of 51
S Pat Chung – 5 of 51
DT Ron Brace – 1 of 51
S Randy Moss – 1 of 51

(Two false start penalties included in snaps)

ANALYSIS: The base alignment was a 3-4, with the Patriots using a 3-2-6 dime (6 defensive backs) in most passing situations and occasionally a 4-2-5 nickel (5 defensive backs). … Butler and Chung were the fifth and sixth defensive backs in the sub package. … When Chung left the game with a head injury, he was replaced by Sanders. … Mayo and Guyton played every snap at inside linebacker, keeping Junior Seau on the sidelines for the third game in a row. … Including penalties, the 51 snaps were the third fewest the defense has played in a game this season (46, vs. Falcons, 49 vs. Titans). … Banta-Cain made the most of his playing time, finishing with five tackles and two sacks in just 26 snaps. … After seeing action solely on early downs, Thomas is playing again in sub packages as he’s had more of a chance to rush the passer in recent weeks. … Woods played on defense for the first time since Oct. 18 against Tennessee, starting at outside linebacker and working in a rotation. … This was the second time this season that Moss has been called upon as a safety in a Hail Mary situation.

Handing out three Patriots stars

November, 23, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Awarding three stars to top performers in the Patriots' 31-14 win over the Jets:

No. 1 star: Wes Welker -- Receiver just might be Patriots' most valuable player, totaling a career-high 15 receptions for 192 yards.

No. 2 star: Tully Banta-Cain -- Outside linebacker doesn't start but makes the most of his playing time with two sacks, five tackles, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.

No. 3 star: Leigh Bodden -- Cornerback intercepts three errant Mark Sanchez passes and returns one for a touchdown, as he is the beneficiary of some erratic quarterback play.

And at the opposite end of the spectrum:

No. 1: Punt team -- Blocked punt recovered for a touchdown -- which could have been the result of being without personal protector Sam Aiken -- is one of the downers. [Updated 11:50 a.m. -- Belichick said the personal protectors, Pat Chung and Julian Edelman, got the job done.]

No. 2: Jonathan Wilhite -- Cornerback is in coverage on a 29-yard touchdown hookup from Sanchez to Jerricho Cotchery.

No. 3: Bret Lockett -- Safety is called for two penalties on special teams, an illegal blindside block (declined) and illegal hands to the face.

Play haunts Wilhite, but he's moved on

November, 18, 2009

FOXBOROUGH -- Jonathan Wilhite was the player in coverage when Reggie Wayne hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning with 13 seconds remaining as the Colts rallied to stun the Patriots, 35-34, Sunday in Indianapolis.

Talking with reporters for the first time since the play, Wilhite, who finished with five tackles, one pass defended, and an interception against the Colts, admitted he re-ran the play in his mind numerous times Sunday night, but has since moved on.

"You wouldn't be a football player if you didn't think about it,"
said Wilhite. "Wayne made a good catch, Peyton made a good throw. It happens in football."

Wayne faked like he was going to run a fade route, a play the team ran earlier in the fourth quarter, then cut inside on a slant.
Manning delivered the ball where only Wayne could haul it in.

Wilhite, who started five games this season and registered 21 tackles and four passes defended, says his attention has turned to this week's game against the Jets.

"The Jets are a good team, they beat us last time & We need to focus more on them than dwelling on the past."

Seen and heard in the Patriots' locker room

November, 11, 2009

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Is Vince Wilfork playing the best football of his career?

That was one of the questions posed to the Patriots defensive lineman, one week after he shifted to defensive end for the first time since his rookie season and helped the Patriots topple the Dolphins 27-17.

"My thing is, I just do what I can do to help my teammates," said Wilfork, who has 22 tackles in seven games this season. "If that's getting better each week, I try. Lord knows I try my best. What I put out there on the field, I want my teammates to feed off that. I lead by example. I'm not a big talker. My work speaks for itself."

Wilfork said coach Bill Belichick approached him during the week about making the move outside. He enjoyed the challenge of being matched up against Dolphins tackle Jake Long.

"Getting back to my roots, the last time I was out there was probably my rookie year," Wilfork said. "It's a little different out there. … We got through it and we'll move on from there."

The Patriots didn't just get through it; they thrived in limiting the Dolphins and their Wildcat offense to 109 yards rushing, nearly half of which came out of a surprise option attack with backup quarterback Pat White (6 carries, 45 yards).

"There're some things I wish I could take back -- a couple tackles, I wish I had them back," Wilfork said. "I just try to work hard every day, try to be at a level of consistency."

Now Wilfork is focused on the Colts and wouldn't mind getting his first sack of the season against Peyton Manning.

"It's tough; it's like he's in a three-step drop every time, but he's not," Wilfork said. "It's just the timing. He's so great with the timing to his receivers or the running backs. … Sometimes you come scot-free and the ball's out, so we just have to keep doing what we do. Keep pressure on him."

Thomas Williams: Seau knows my name!

Linebacker Thomas Williams, a former fifth-round pick (155th overall) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2008 draft who signed to the Patriots' practice squad Monday, is getting comfortable in New England with the help of fellow University of Southern California alumnus Junior Seau.

"It was kind of cool, he knew my name," Williams said. "A guy like that, someone I've been watching since I was a kid, said 'Thomas, you can sit right there' and pointed me to a seat [in meetings]. He seems great, helping me out. I'm going to be a sponge to him however long I'm here; just sit next to him, ask questions. He's got so much knowledge."

Williams should be honored Seau knew his name, as the 40-year-old linebacker is notorious for calling teammates "Buddy Buddy."

Williams was on the active roster in Jacksonville last year, appearing in six games for the Jaguars, but was waived before the start of the 2009 season. Williams signed to the Seattle Seahawks practice squad but was released in late September. He said he worked out for a few teams before signing with New England when a spot opened with Kyle Arrington moving to the active roster.

"There's 32 teams in the NFL, I'm not going away until I hit every city, maybe once or twice," Williams said. "It's been my dream since I was a kid. God blessed me to stay level-headed and continue to pursue this."

Williams did say the Patriots were "the Yankees of football," referring to their championship pedigree. But kindly reminded he might not want to compare the two in these parts, Williams laughed.

"Well, you know what I mean," he said. "I'm just an average sports fan."

Wilhite feeling better

Cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, who missed last week's game due to illness, chatted with reporters and deemed himself ready to get back on the practice field.

Wilhite thinks he caught the bug while taking care of his little sister in Tennessee during the bye week, but said he's never been floored by an illness like this before.

"I've been sick, but I've never had anything keep me out for that long," Wilhite said. "I'm happy to be standing here talking to y'all.
I've been throwing up and sick a lot. Everything's fine now. I'm ready to get back to football."

Wilhite had plenty of support in his corner.

"It was tough, but I had the support of my teammates," he said. "A lot of guys called and checked on me. The best thing was watching them win. That was a good thing & Knowing guys stepped in and made plays."

Light, Green in locker room

Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light, sidelined since injuring his right knee in a Week 5 loss to the Broncos, walked through the locker room without a brace or limp. Light approached his locker stall as media circled, but he simply grabbed a Red Bull from a nearby refrigerator and walked to the weight room.

He didn't give an update on his status but was his normal joking self as reporters asked about his condition.

Later, Jarvis Green, sidelined after knee surgery during the bye week, appeared in the locker room and likewise looked in quality condition.

Praise for Gostkowski

Arrington, who made two special teams tackles on kickoff coverage in his pro debut this past week against the Dolphins, said it was nice to see Stephen Gostkowski earn the AFC Special Team Player of the Week honors and deflected all the credit to the kicker.

"We did our part; we covered fairly well, but it was all Steve," Arrington said. "With three touchbacks and four field goals, he was definitely the catalyst."

Warren, Wilhite miss Wednesday's practice

November, 4, 2009

FOXBOROUGH -- Ty Warren (ankle) and Jonathan Wilhite (illness) were among a group of seven players who did not participate in Wednesday's practice for the Patriots.

Warren, who was spotted on the field by reporters during stretching, evidently did not engage in drills as he nurses a right ankle injury sustained in New England's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London. Earlier Wednesday, Warren indicated he was more concerned about the Dolphins' rushing attack than the injury. Asked about his health, he said, "You see me right now, I'm vertical."

Along with Warren and Wilhite, the following players did not participate in Wednesday's session: wide receiver Julian Edelman (forearm), defensive end Jarvis Green (knee), offensive tackle Matt Light (knee) and running backs Sammy Morris (knee) and Fred Taylor (knee). Tight end Benjamin Watson (back) had limited participation.

For the Miami Dolphins, linebacker Channing Crowder (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jason Ferguson (elbow) engaged in limited participation.