According to ESPN, New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has undergone surgery to repair his torn Achilles this morning. Wilfork will likely be placed on injured-reserve, ending his season.
Wilfork was injured in the first quarter of the Patriot’s 30-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday.
According to Patriot’s Head Coach Bill Belichick, per ESPN:
Clearly, there are no Vince Wilforks just standing around out there on the corner waiting to sign with the Patriots or some other NFL team. He is a special player, one of the very best at his position. There’s no way that you would replace him with one guy — that’s totally unrealistic. But we’ll try to do what we can to make our team as competitive as possible with the 46 guys we put out there against Cincinnati this Sunday.
Indeed, the Patriots will have to be creative to replace Wilfork, who is a five-time Pro Bowler and has been a key player in the middle of the Patriot’s defense for years. While he has had no sacks and only 9 tackles on the year, the Patriot’s are incredibly shallow at the the defensive tackle position. Currently, the Patriots only have 32-year-old Tommy Kelly and rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones. DT Armond Armstead remains on the non-football injury list for an infection.
Luckily, Belichick has often found ways to succeed without name players. You can look no further than the Patriot’s offense, which is the 11th ranked offense with guys like Mathew Mulligan and Michael Hoomanawani as receivers. Maybe Vellano and Jones will step up like so many others have in the past. Or perhaps the Patriots will kick the tires on a veteran free agent such as Richard Seymour, who the Patriots traded away to the Oakland Raiders in 2009.
However they decide to do it, the Patriot’s defense needs as much help as they can get, especially if they want to compete with the Denver Broncos come playoff time.