Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Preparing for a Ngata-sized challenge
By Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- By NFL offensive lineman standards, Patriots center Ryan Wendell is moderately sized at 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds (which seems like a generous listing of his weight on the roster).
By any standard, Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is a mountain of a man, and will be a tall task for Wendell and the Patriots' offensive line this Sunday.
"Ngata is everything that is advertised," Wendell said on Wednesday. "He's a big, powerful guy, skillful, quick feet, good hands, knows how to get to the ball, understands football, knows how to beat offensive linemen's blocks. He's a great defensive tackle and he's going to be a huge test for us."
Asked how to handle blocking a player that has at least 40 pounds on him, Wendell cited technique.
"It's technique," he said. "There's nothing I can do about my size. I can't work on getting any taller, but it's the things we've been working on our whole lives in football: basic fundamentals, using your feet, using your hands."
Wendell said the opportunity to go up against Vince Wilfork, who has a similar stature to Ngata, every day in practice helps in his preparation.
"Absolutely," he said. "Vince is an excellent player. I think that's obvious by what he does on the field every week. He pushes the guys across from him to get better every day, so every chance I get to go against him makes me a better player."