After spending 11 seasons with the Patriots, nose tackle Vince Wilfork joined the Texans. Wilfork’s addition to an already stout defense is in my opinion, one of the most significant free agent acquisitions in Texans history (perhaps second only to the moving company hired to remove Ed Reed‘s belongings). In addition to bringing a formidable presence in the middle of the defense that will require two blockers on every snap, Wilfork’s presence as a leader in the locker room is perhaps where his impact will be felt the most.
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Immediately after joining the Texans, Wilfork made it clear that he was not on this team to be “just one of the guys”. His partnership as a leader along with J.J. Watt will be critical to the success of the Texans. This is the kind of guy that everyone in the locker room will look up to and respect because he’s been there and has done it all.
Instead of focusing on the stats sheet for Wilfork, here’s how you measure the success of his arrival: a) measure the incremental difference in sacks, quarterback hits/hurries, and the reduction of opposing teams yards per carry and overall rushing yardage. Additionally,you should observe the development of 2014 third round pick Louis Nix, who greatly disappointed in his first season. Vince can not only teach him the specifics of what is required to be an effective nose tackle in the Romeo Crennel 3-4 defense, he can be a mentor to him and teach him how to be a professional football player.
Offensive coordinators of teams that are on the Texans schedule this season are probably already trying to figure out how they will protect and create running lanes against this defense. Having a mammoth like Wilfork in the middle of the defense will make that task nearly impossible.
Toro Times Projection: 3 sacks, 30 tackles, 2 forced fumbles