It won't be easy to run on Wilfork, Patriots

It won't be easy to run on Wilfork, Patriots
January 8, 2013, 8:00 am
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Texans need to finish in the red zone

The Texans’ offense is pretty simple to understand. They like to run the ball and then go from there.

Against the Patriots in Week 14, the Texans never got their run game going. They finished with 100 yards on the ground. Arian Foster had 46 and Ben Tate had 46. The big reason they weren’t able to run was because they got behind early. The other was big Vince Wilfork.

“If you sit there and think you’re going to run it at him consistently, it’s very difficult,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s been one of the best players in the league, most dominant players in the league. They’re very good against the run. I think they’re ranked like sixth or seventh. They have been all year long. The thing that is so difficult is he plays everywhere. So he doesn’t just play one spot. It’s not like you go the other way with the ball or try to avoid something. You’re going to have to deal with him all day long.”

Wilfork is, of course, the 6-2, 325-pound Patriots defensive tackle. He’s been to five Pro Bowls and is considered one of the best defensive linemen in the game.

That’s quite an intimidating presence for a few young guys to face. The left side of the Texans’ offensive line holds three Pro Bowlers.

The right side? Two rookies, a second-year guy and a journeyman. Rookies Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks rotate at right guard and Derek Newton and Ryan Harris Rotate at right tackle. That’s the way it’s been and that’s the way Kubiak said the rotation will continue in New England on Sunday.

Kubiak was asked if Wilfork will look a little different to the Texans’ young offensive lineman after already seeing him once.

“I don’t know, he’s going to look the same,” Kubiak said. “He’s the same player. He’s one heck of a player and he’s a load to handle. The thing about him, he’s so athletic. We like to cut, we like to do those things up front offensively. And he jumped over us a couple of times.

“They’re built right down the middle with the young linebacker and (Wilfork). They’re built very well right there. Against us they squeeze the ball really good off the edges with their outside players and let him do his work. Us containing him, for a player that plays inside, as many big plays as he makes, causing fumbles, those types of things, That’s the thing that concerns you the most. We can’t let him do that.”

Foster had just 46 yards against the Patriots in Foxboro when the two teams played. It was his second-worst road performance this season. In his seven other road games, Foster averaged 100.7 yards per game.

The good news for the Texans is that in all three of his playoff games, Foster has rushed for over 100 yards. In fact, he’s the first player in NFL history to run for 100 yards in each of his first three playoff games.

“I don’t know how much I’m going to look at that, man, honestly,” Foster said when asked if he’ll look at the game film from the first Texans-Patriots meeting. “They’re a new team, we’re a new team. Anytime you play a team twice in a season you’ve got different guys and different schemes. You have to attack it differently. It’s a different mentality. Different things are at stake.”