|How will Roger Goodell be received at Gillette Stadium? Matthew Slater says ‘ask the good people of Foxboro’||04.11.17 at 5:43 pm ET|
Even though the Patriots will be raising their fifth Super Bowl banner at Gillette Stadium when the 2017 season opens in September, the bigger storyline may be Roger Goodell making his first trip to Foxboro since Deflategate began.
Speaking to reporters at Gillette Stadium Tuesday, Matthew Slater was asked how he expects Goodell to be received, but the special teams captain didn’t have an answer.
“You know, that’s not for me to say,” Slater told reporters. “That’s up to our fans, how they choose to receive him. I think us, as a team, we’ve moved on. We moved on a long time ago. We went out last year and took care of our business. Now it’s up for us to take care of our business this year. And we have a lot of important things to worry about, a lot of things we need to get ourselves ready.
“So, how should he be received? I haven’t given that a whole lot of thought. How will he be received? I’m not the one to ask that question. I think you should ask the good people of Foxboro how they’re going to receive him.”
Slater said he’s watched Super Bowl LI a few times since February and noted he views it like a fan.
“I get nervous every time I watch it, like I don’t know the outcome,” Slater said. “Pretty unbelievable what we were able to accomplish. Again, I’m just very proud to have been a part of such a special team in 2016.”
“I’m sitting almost as a fan, like, ‘What are they doing?’” he added. “I don’t know. It’s unbelievable. To think that we were down 25 points and … The one thing I won’t forget is the way we looked at one another. I’ve been on teams when we were down three points, 10 points and the confidence level wasn’t there on that day for whatever reason. But that Super Bowl Sunday, we had it. We maintained our belief. As I sit there and watch it as a fan I think about the looks I saw on guys’ faces over the course of [a] 60-minute ballgame, and it puts a smile on your face.”
|Pool report: Nate Ebner (concussion) expected to play Sunday, Patriots using 2 players to simulate Julio Jones||02.02.17 at 8:11 pm ET|
HOUSTON — It appears Nate Ebner (concussion) will be good to go Sunday against the Falcons.
The special teams ace again worked in a red, non-contact jersey on Thursday, but all signs are pointing to him play Sunday in Super Bowl LI.
“I expect him to be ready to play in the game,” Bill Belichick said to pool reporter Jarrett Bell.
Another thing worth noting is the team is using two players to simulate Falcons receiver Julio Jones in Matthew Slater and Michael Floyd.
“That’s such a key guy for us, the routes and all that,” Belichick said. “We have two guys doing it so we won’t wear one guy out.”
Added Belichick: “You’ve got to know where he is on every play.”
The team is putting extra work in conditioning this week given the length of the game, especially factoring in the long halftime.
“You’re taking a game that’s three hours and it’s going to be closer to four” Belichick said. “You’ve got to sustain that a lot longer. Mentally, you just understand how slow the game is, how long the halftime is, what breaks are in between. It’s going to take a lot more staying power in this game than in a normal game. With pregame warmups and all that, you’re looking at 5.5 hours. It just makes for a long day.”
|Breaking down exactly how Patriots are perfectly-suited to contain Steelers explosive weapons||01.19.17 at 4:31 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Sunday night discipline and fundamentals will meet patience and speed.
The winner will advance to the Super Bowl. The loser will ponder why their approach didn’t work.
The discipline and defensive fundamentals belong to the Patriots defense while patience and speed belong to the Steelers and their explosive offensive weaponry.
The Steelers arguably possess the most feared running back and wide receiver tandem in the NFL in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. They also have a gunslinger in Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and a supporting cast in running back DeAngelo Williams, tight end Jesse James and wide receiver Eli Rogers totally capable of spreading a defense and finding weak spots.
The Patriots have built a reputation as the most disciplined defense in the NFL. They’re not spectacular playmakers but they’re rarely out of position and play with a healthy chip on their shoulders, which Logan Ryan pointed out again Thursday. It’s why Jamie Collins was traded and Jabaal Sheard was benched for a week. If you think you’re bigger than the sum of the parts, you will quickly find your way out of town, or – at the very least – the lineup.
What does discipline on defense mean exactly?
“Basically doing your job,” Dont’a Hightower said. “Patience is something than [Bell] does and discipline is something that will kind of counteract that. A lot of times it’s guys who may have an A-gap and they’re looking in the B-gap and they are shedding, trying to get off because of his patience—not having good enough discipline or getting off and causing those areas that he’s looking for. He has such great quickness and bust that’s he’s able to hit that hole and before you know it, it’s seven yards and he’s pulling the pile for another three yards. Those 2-yard runs, 3-yard runs turn into 11-yard runs real quick.”
Devin McCourty, just like he is on the field, was in sync with Hightower in explaining the approach.
“I think it’s going to start with everyone understanding their role and whatever the defensive call is,” McCourty said. “If you’ve got to be at that one spot we’re going to need you there. They’ve got guys on the field that if they catch a ball on the left side of the defense they can easily end up on the right side if they break a couple tackles. So first is just doing your assignment then I think it’s just pursuit. We can’t be out there jogging or not getting to the ball. We’ve got to get everyone to the ball once the ball is in the air.
“Whether it’s Le’Veon Bell running the ball and he’s so patient behind the line you don’t really know where he’s going to end up once he puts his foot in the ground and goes or it’s one of the receivers catching the ball. If it’s [Darrius] Heyward-Bey on a crossing route he has the speed to catch a pass and turn up field and go 70-80 yards. It’s just everyone hustling, [in] pursuit and just really wanting to get it done. We’ve had plays throughout this season where we’ve seen that. Where we have plays where it’s a five-yard gain and we get all 11 guys to a pile. I think we’ve got to have that for 60 minutes all day Sunday.”
Read the rest of this entry »
|Chris Hogan: ‘I could not care less’ about Roger Goodell deciding not to attend AFC championship game||01.17.17 at 6:32 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Much of New England seems to be upset Roger Goodell will not be in attendance Sunday for the AFC championship game as he will be in at Atlanta for the second straight weekend for the NFC title games.
But the Patriots players don’t seem to care at all.
“I could not care less,” wide receiver Chris Hogan said. “I’m focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so I can go out there on Sunday prepared.”
Special teams captain Matthew Slater isn’t concerned about it, either.
“Not necessarily, I mean the game is going to be played and whoever is in attendance is in attendance,” he said. “We’re just worried about trying to play well.”
Hogan is also just glad to still be playing football this time of year considering this is his first playoff appearance.
“On a couch watching football, wishing that I was in this position,” he said of what he was doing last year at this time. “I’m fortunate to be in this position now and I’m going to go out there and give it everything I have to help this team win.”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Patriots get reminded of NFL social media policy following Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video||at 6:18 pm ET|
FOXBORO — While the Patriots had little reaction to Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video from after Sunday’s game in the Steelers locker room, they were reminded of the NFL’s social media policy.
The policy states players cannot post to social media 90 minutes before the game and not until postgame interviews are over.
“I believe there’s one for the NFL, and we were reminded of that,” receiver Chris Hogan said. “I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room.”
Special teams captain Matthew Slater added: “Yes, we have a team policy on that. [It’s] strictly enforced, and we go from there.”
Despite Steelers coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots a-holes in the video, Slater said the video will not impact how how views him.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin,” he said. “I appreciate the way he preps his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way.”
The Patriots will also not be using the video as motivation for Sunday, as it is the AFC title game after all.
“We’re playing in the AFC championship game,” Slater said. “If you can’t get motivated to play in this game, then you’re in the wrong sport.”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Patriots expecting good atmosphere Saturday night: ‘I’m sure it’ll be wild. We have the best fans in the league’||01.12.17 at 6:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — Playoff football is back at Gillette Stadium and the Patriots are looking forward to playing in front of their fans.
The Patriots will host the Texans Saturday night in the divisional round at Gillette Stadium. It is the eighth straight year the team has hosted a playoff game.
For Dont’a Hightower, it’s his fifth year with the team so he knows what type of atmosphere to expect.
“I’m sure it’ll be wild. We have the best fans in the league,” Hightower said. “It’s usually cold so I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to that. But all around, playoff time and home field advantage, it helps as far as just the overall emotion and excitement that it brings. Those third downs and those backed up situations where we have the offense on the ropes back there – those really help.
“Sometimes, believe it or not, a lot of guys get pretty crazy to want to make a play and get up and do the little sack dance or whatever. So always being at home always helps.”
Matthew Slater also has plenty of playoff experience at Gillette Stadium. He urged the fans to be loud.
“I think this is the time of year that our fans love,” he said. “They understand the role they play in the game, the role they play in home field advantage, and we’re excited for them to be at their best. We’re expecting their best on Saturday, and we’re in it together.”
Added Slater: “Just get loud. They know what to do. They’re seasoned, experienced fans, so they know what to do.”
If the Patriots win, they would host the AFC title game a week from Sunday.
|Matthew Slater only Patriot named to AP All-Pro team; Matt Ryan edges Tom Brady at QB||01.06.17 at 12:41 pm ET|
The Patriots have one representative on the AP All-Pro team, and it’s not who some may think.
Special teamer Matthew Slater made the team for the first time in his career. It’s notable considering he didn’t even play the whole season.
Tom Brady was beaten out by Matt Ryan at quarterback, which could be telling when it comes to who might win the MVP race, as it is the same 50 voters.
Right tackle Marcus Cannon received six AP All-Pro votes, which were tied for second-highest among right tackles. Despite playing only eight games, Rob Gronkowski received one All-Pro vote.
Devin McCourty received four votes, which were the third-most at safety and Malcolm Butler received eight at cornerback, tied for fourth-most.
Brady, Cannon, Butler, McCourty, Dont’a Hightower and Nate Ebner were named to the All-Pro second team.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
2017 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2017 NFL DRAFT
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Deatrich Wise Jr NFL Draft 2017: Scouting Report for New England...
- Brandin Cooks' Contract Option Reportedly Exercised by Patriots
- Derek Rivers Becomes 1st Player Drafted by Super Bowl Champion Patriots...
- Mike Gillislee's Patriots Contract Offer Sheet Declined by Bills
- Malcolm Butler Reportedly 'Highly Unlikely' to Be Traded Despite Saints...
- Patriots Schedule 2017-18: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Entire Season
- 2017 New England Patriots Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV...