Wilfork: 'We weren't ready to go'


Wilfork: 'We weren't ready to go'

Focus on the bottom line if you'd like, but the Patriots will examine every millisecond of their 23-16 win over Jacksonville. Only one more game stands between New England and the playoffs; any weaknesses exposed now, after almost an entire season of work, are troubling. 
Vince Wilfork certainly isn't satisfied with the defense.
"I dont know if we were flat or what, but it showed that we werent ready to go right away," the nose tackle said Sunday evening. "When that happens we really have to buckle down and play football. I think sometimes we did, sometimes we didnt."
The Jaguars steamrolled New England's defense on their first series of the game. Quarterback Chad Henne completed all six of his pass attempts in the nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. 
Jacksonville's 202 total first quarter yards are a franchise record. The team went up 13-3 (it would have been 16-3 if not for a missed 43-yard field goal) in the second quarter before New England really began to claw its way back in. 
Per usual, there were a couple of gaudy gains. 
Henne found Jordan Shipley for a 36-yard gain as time ticked down on the first quarter. Henne put an exclamation on the end of the frame with a 53-yard connection with Montell Owens. The Patriots allowed seven plays of 17 or more yards, including two on third down and one on fourth down. 
But the defense did tamp down.
"They gave us a little different approach offensively," head coach Bill Belichick said. "We made some adjustments once we kind of saw what they were doing. I think our players and coaches, we all got a better look at it. They did a good job starting the game off with a little different style and they were able to get the advantage on us but I think eventually we settled down and handled it."
Jacksonville was forced to punt on four of its last five drives. 
The biggest Patriots stop came in the fourth quarter when their 23-16 lead was in jeopardy. The 'D' was staring down a third-and-1 play on its own 1-yard line. An offsides penalty on Jacksonville's Zach Potter made it third-and-5 on New England's 5. That's when rookie Dont'a Hightower sacked Henne back to the 11. On fourth-and-10, fellow rookie Chandler Jones got after Henne, bothering the QB's throwing arm enough to create an interception for safety Patrick Chung. 
The game ended with Chung's second interception, this time on a jump ball in the back of the Patriots end zone. 
It was a good enough effort in the end. And you can add a few asterisks, if you're inclined. Both linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard were inactive due to injury. Cornerback Aqib Talib's bad hip pained him enough that he grabbed it after every play. The lack of secondary depth moved Devin McCourty back to corner and got Chung more snaps at safety. 
New England's defense saw a lot of rotation in general. 
Perhaps having Belichick dip into the bench earlier, and more often than usual made it difficult for the unit to get into a rhythm. Either way, inefficiencies against the NFL's 31st-ranked offense surfaced on Sunday. 
And the Patriots won't want to see it in the playoffs. 
"Im proud of the way that we responded, but at the same time at the end of the day, it wont be good enough," Wilfork said. 
"Plain and simple."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

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Rask skates, expected to play tonight vs. Red Wings

Rask skates, expected to play tonight vs. Red Wings

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena with little more than a handful of B’s players skating, but the most important player to Boston success, Tuukka Rask, was taking part after missing practice on Monday.

Rask missed Monday’s practice session while getting checked out medically following his exit from Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh due to vision issues. He said on Tuesday that it was all related to migraines that have cropped up a couple of times in his NHL career. The Bruins No. 1 netminder also said he was good to play on Tuesday night against the Red Wings with just a couple of home games left until this weekend’s All-Star break.

That was the kind of good news embattled coach Claude Julien was looking for as Boston looks to end its season-worst, four-game losing streak.

“We’ve got good news so far, so that’s nice to see,” Julien said of Rask, who has started 13 of Boston’s past 14 games dating to a Dec. 27 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Obviously it was because of the migraines, so hopefully we won’t see much more of that.”

In other Black and Gold health news, both Colin Miller and Kevan Miller have been cleared to play, and are expected to rejoin the B’s lineup with John-Michael Liles and Joe Morrow headed for healthy scratches. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings as the Red Wings arrive for a divisional tilt after a shootout loss for Boston last week at Joe Louis Arena:







K. Miller-C. Miller