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Wilfork takes on full-time load

In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com (link here), Tom Lakin writes on Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and his role as a top performer and leader of the team's defense.

If the Patriots' defense -- a much-maligned, 31st-ranked unit that has been referred to throughout the year variously as a sieve, a screen door and an outfit with all the preventative capabilities of a wet paper towel -- wants to stop Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens, Wilfork figures to lead the charge. ...

"You know, you rarely see defensive linemen playing 90 percent of the snaps on the field, and he's one of those guys," linebacker Jerod Mayo said. "I don't want to say his weight on camera, but he's a big guy -- you all can see that. That's very impressive in its own right. And at the same time, he has a ring. He's won playoff games, so we can always draw from his experiences."

One of the big things that stands out with Wilfork this year, how he's become a three-down player.

Gone are the days when Wilfork would be running off the field in passing situations, subbed out for more of a pass-rushing threat. He is a pass-rushing threat, just as he is a threat to intercept a pass.

Oh, about those interceptions ...