After 12 years in the NFL, Vince Wilfork can afford the luxury of viewing the game from a 10,000-foot perspective.
Like a hawk.
"You need to understand the game in general and look at it from a different scope," Wilfork said. "That's what I like to do. I don't just like to look at the center or the guards, I like to look at the whole offense and I like to see the offense break the huddle and see what they're in. I like to look at the running back and see where his eyes are, I like to look at the receivers. Is it slot, is it pro, is it trips, is it wild wide, I like to see the whole thing."
Wilfork learned how to recognize formations "a long time ago." He looks beyond his own play call. Like a detective trying to solve a mystery, he uses whatever clues he picks up to try and piece together what play might be coming from the opposing offense.
"That's probably the first thing I look at," Wilfork said. "Sometimes I don't even listen to a defensive huddle call, I get that and when the offense breaks I just turn to one and 'Hey, what are we in?' and they'll tell me because I'm so locked in to what the offense is doing. I know somebody's going to give me something. I just don't know who it may be."
Whether it's the quarterback, receivers, running back, or an offensive lineman, Wilfork is watching closely to see who might give him any hint of a play call. He wants younger players to start seeing the game the same way, especially those with less experience.
That's where he fits in.
The two-time Super Bowl winner has made it a personal goal to help teach his teammates how to see the big picture and use it to their advantage on each play.
"Just being able to recognize formations, because nine times out of 10, if you can be able to recognize that, the offense will give you what they want to do," Wilfork said. "So it's just being a smart football player. If we can do that, we'll be very successful."
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork's NFL career is chronicled.