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Patriots NT Wilfork admits struggles with 'sub' runs

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By PFW staff

Patriots veteran NT Vince Wilfork said Monday the team's defense continues to struggle against "sub" runs, referring to running plays when the team has its nickel package on the field.

Appearing on Boston sports radio WEEI, Wilfork said, "We've been having problems with sub runs all year, going back to last year. The one thing that can hurt us, the run they chose, the weak zone, we talked about and didn't execute."

ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss looked at the runs Wilfork was referring to.

In the Week Two loss to the Jets, the Patriots were burned when they had a nickel package on the field and the Jets ran the ball. RB LaDainian Tomlinson had gains of 14 and 11 yards on two plays in the third quarter against a Patriots sub package.

"Stuff like that irritates me," Wilfork said. "People hurt us on stuff that has hurt us in the past. Sub runs — that's sticking with us until it stops."

When the Patriots showed their base 3-4 defense, the Jets had just 36 yards on 12 carries.

The way we see it

The defense as a whole was pretty dismal for the Patriots, mainly in the second half of Sunday's loss to the division-rival Jets. To have a veteran publicly refer such a specific defensive miscue illustrates how disappointing their performance was. It is also noteworthy to see defensive genius Bill Belichick outsmarted on these run plays.

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