Season-ending injuries to Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo briefly left the Patriots without a defensive captain. The team has now announced that Rob Ninkovich and Devin McCourty will serve as captains for the rest of the season.
With captains Vince Wilfork & Jerod Mayo on IR, Devin McCourty & Rob Ninkovich have been named defensive captains.The news isn't surprising for either player. McCourty, whose promotion was previously reported here by our own Liam Cunningham, has received lavish praise in the past from Bill Belichick for his leadership skills. The fourth year pro has also emerged as one of the best safeties in the league for the Patriots suddenly stingy pass defense.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 18, 2013
Ninkovich wears the same number (50) as Patriots great Mike Vrabel and his career has followed a similar trajectory. After bouncing around early in his career, largely as a special teams player, "Nink" found himself a home in New England, where the defensive end/linebacker has thrived as a playmaker. Since arriving in New England in 2009, the veteran has tallied 20.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions, 12 passes defensed and 14 defensive stuffs; eye popping numbers for someone who was signed in the midst of training camp. Ninkovich was justly rewarded with a contract extension earlier this season and now will stand as one of the team's defensive leaders.