NT, DE and Teacher: Vince Wilfork

Vince Wilfork is a nose tackle.

He can also play defensive end.

And because "he's seen it all", according to head coach Bill O'Brien, Wilfork will also be a tremendous asset as a teacher this season.

"He's not a coach, but he can give his wisdom to the younger players in the room and practice, those Fridays, those Saturdays, when you're sitting around and those guys have questions in the locker

room, they can go to him," O'Brien said on Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meetings. "That's a big key for us."

Ever since he arrived in early January of 2014, O'Brien shied away from labeling his offense and defense. When pinned down, he begrudgingly admitteed the Texans' base defensive unit would be a 3-4. But he also pointed out that because of the passing attack across the League, his defense would likely operate with five defensive backs about 60 percent of the time.

In most instances, a nose tackle exits the field in the nickel defense, but Wilfork is most assuredly not

like most other nose tackles. He's able to slide to defensive end at time, and is fluent in the defensive system employed by coordinator Romeo Crennel. That knowledge and experience from 11 years with the Patriots, O'Brien said, will be invaluable off the field as well in 2015.

"He'll be able to, player-to-player, really look at a guy and say 'Hey look: this is how you need to take this block on. This is how this guy blocks,'" O'Brien said. "He knows the personnel in the League very well. He's played so long. 'This is what you should be doing in the offseason to get ready to play a 16-game season.' He can really help our team a lot in the lcoker room in that way."

O'Brien was an assistant with the Patriots from 2007 to 2011. Wilfork's NFL career began in New England in 2004. He was a defensive co-captain from 2008 through 2014.


Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork's NFL career is chronicled.

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