By: Derek Havens
The hits keep coming.
The New England Patriots advanced to 4-0 Sunday night, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 30-23. Unfortunately, the Patriots victory may have come at a big cost, as the Boston Globe reports defensive lineman Vince Wilfork suffered a torn achilles tendon.
Globe Reporter, Shalise Manza Young, tweeted this early Monday morning:
league source: Vince Wilfork has torn Achilles – almost certainly ends his season
— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) September 30, 2013
Analysis: The report still has to be verified, but the initial news is brutal. Wilfork being out for the year would be a huge loss to the team, literally and figuratively. The Patriots are already dangerously thin at defensive tackle, having only Tommy Kelly and undrafted rookie Joe Vellano at the position.
Rookie defensive lineman Armond Armstead is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list and cannot be activated until after week six, if he is even ready to play by then. Marcus Forston or A.J. Francis off the practice squad are possibilities. Also, if Chris Jones is healthy, he could see some time. Either way, it seems likely the Patriots will have to bring in another player at the position.
The Patriots may have to play even more 4-3 defense, as Wilfork’s offers tremendous versatility and his absence limits their personnel options to play 3-4. The 31-year-old has seemed almost indestructible throughout his career, averaging 15 games played in his last nine seasons.
Looking long-term, the outlook on Wilfork returning to full strength will be an uphill battle. A torn achilles is tough for anyone to recover, let alone someone who is well over his listed weight of 325 pounds.
For now, it’s a fluid situation. When more information is released, updates will follow. Stay tuned.
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