FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the 49ers come to town on Sunday night, the Patriots defense is expecting to see a variety of offensive formations and personnel packages. It's become a hallmark of San Francisco's offense, and the versatility of quarterback Colin Kaepernick only further expands the possibilities within the playbook.
The offense is so wide-ranging, in fact, that Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said there is no similar attack around the NFL.
"I've never seen an offense like this," Wilfork said. "They can do so many different things. It's not an offense where you can say, 'Hey, when they line up like this, they're going to do this, or this guy is only going to do this.' Because it seems like everybody touches the ball and is very dangerous, from the receivers to the backs to the quarterbacks."
The key to trying to stop the multiple formations and looks? A commitment to fundamentals and communication on the sidelines between series about what the defense has seen, according to Wilfork.
"We're going to basically have to get back to fundamentals, playing good football, and learn on the go," he said. "Play what we see, and I'm pretty sure this week is going to be very, very crucial for us getting back to the sideline between series to go over things they're doing differently."
One would think that practicing against the Patriots' offense on a daily basis would have Wilfork and his teammates well prepared for the 49ers, as the Patriots have an innovative offensive system with a multitude of looks. But the veteran defensive lineman said that between personnel sets, formations, and looks, the 49ers actually have more wrinkles to prepare for than their own offense.
"We don't have three running backs in at a time, we don't have linemen in the backfield all the time. Like I said, these guys run some plays where you're like, man, they can give offensive linemen the ball. You never know. You can't be surprised. They can show so many different things, and I'm pretty sure they have a lot more stuff they can use. We're going to expect the kitchen sink. They're very good at what they do."