Vince Wilfork going down with a torn Achilles is a huge blow to the New England Patriots‘ defense which has been a big part of the team’s success this season. With Tommy Kelly now becoming the key player at defensive tackle, it is Brandon Spikes who is going to have to step up and have a big impact to limit teams from running up the middle against them.
Wilfork may not always come up on the stat sheet and on paper he does not look like a five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, but the things he brings to the Patriots defense are more than what just shows up in the box score. Wilfork is a beast in the middle and demands two people to block him. He is so strong and can get pressure on the QB, but at the same time he is a nightmare to run up the middle against. With Tommy Kelly, who is more of a pass specialist, and Joe Vellano, who has quickness to get to the QB but is a smaller DT listed at 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, the Patriots are going to be a bit more exposed in the middle. This is where Brandon Spikes, who is a great run defender, is going to have to step up and do a good job at controlling the gaps in the line and not allow opposing teams to run the ball effectively up the middle.
Spikes is a big physical, player who is great at filling gaps and stopping the run. He does lack in coverage skills which is why he comes off the field when opposing teams play in multiple WR sets. Vince Wilfork has been a big reason for Spikes’ success since he came into the NFL, but now, in a contract year, it is time for Brandon Spikes to step up his game and become a force in the middle of this Patriots’ defense.