Patriots watching the defense grow

Vince Wilfork said the Patriots haven’t been as good — or as bad — as they’ve looked at times this preseason.

With Patriots training camp over, fans can no longer watch the team practice at Gillette Stadium. That’s the bad news.

The good news? That means we’re even closer to the start of the regular season — less than three weeks away at this point.

In two preseason games so far, the Pats have looked dominant … to the untrained eye. But players and coaches look far beyond the final score.

“It probably looked good, but some things we screwed up out there,” nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. “And at times when it looked bad, it wasn’t that bad.”

Winning is nice, but in the preseason it doesn’t really matter. What matters is showing improvement from one day to the next.

Having missed so much time due to the lockout, players admit they’re not quite up to speed. On top of that, the Pats are doing a lot of experimenting on the defensive side of the ball.

“We have a bunch of young guys in this locker room, new things that we’re doing out there on the field,” Wilfork said. “Not just the young guys starting their careers with something new, [but] guys who have been around here for a long time. We’re actually doing a couple different things that we have to learn.”

They’re well on their way, and the pieces are slowly fitting into place. You could see it taking shape last Thursday against the Bucs.

“I think that the important thing right now is kind of we just grow as a unit, grow as a defensive team,” cornerback Devin McCourty said. “I think that’s coming along, and that’s encouraging when you can take the field and hopefully all 11 guys are on the same page.”



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