|Matthew Slater warns: Teams will ‘try to intimidate us’||09.21.15 at 5:59 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have spent all offseason preparing themselves to be the hunted every time they take the field this season.
On Sunday, the Bills provided a loud and clear reminder of what this season as defending Super Bowl champions will be like for the Patriots. The Bills not only got their crowd behind them but they tried to get the Patriots to take the bait in a backyard brawl.
“I think, overall, we did a good job of controlling our emotions,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said Monday. “Obviously, it was chippy, and the referees were letting a lot of that go, letting us play so we have to do a good job of keeping our heads. Teams, for whatever reason, come out and try to intimidate us in that way, and that’s something we’re going to have to get used to seeing throughout the course of the year.”
Practice and preparation leads to game reality. It’s a credo of the Belichick Patriots. And it’s something Slater said he can see in these Patriots.
“I certainly appreciate the way the way we practice and prepare,” Slater said. “We’ve had a tough offseason, training camp and early season here. The practices have been pretty grueling but I think this team has really bought into what it takes to prepare to be a winner and prepare to have success. I appreciate the young guys, the effort they’ve given, and obviously the veteran leaders on this team have worked the way they’ve always worked. That’s something that’s good to see. We’re going to need that. We’re going to need to continue that trend as the season moves along.
“Here, it seems every year we have kids that come in and buy in. I think because of what Coach Belichick has put in place here, it’s either you buy in or they’re going to find someone who does. I can’t really think of a time since I’ve been here where we’ve had a problem with young guys buying in. They’ve always done a good job of buying in and we get the right kind of guys in here that understand the way we need to do things. I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’ve had success over the years.”
A 19-3 fourth quarter spurt by the Bills made the game a lot closer than anyone thought possible in the third quarter. That is all part of consistency that leads to a killer instinct. Slater said you can’t close out games without consistency.
|Tom Brady, Brandon LaFell among 5 Patriots players not on field prior preseason finale||09.03.15 at 7:09 pm ET|
Just five Patriots players weren’t on the field dressed in full uniform prior to the preseason finale with the Giants Thursday night.
They were: quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Brandon LaFell, safety Brandon King, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, center Bryan Stork.
It should be noted just because many of the starters were on the field pregame, it does not mean they’ll play in the game.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
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|Patriots, Saints not expecting to fight like Cowboys and Rams: ‘Competitive level is very high’||08.19.15 at 1:33 pm ET|
The video of Dez Bryant getting sucker punched in the face was likely all anyone on the Greenbrier resort football field in West Virginia had to see to learn an important lesson. Compete but don’t fight.
That’s what the Patriots and Saints began doing Wednesday morning when they began joint practices in White Sulphur Springs.
Patriots and Saints coaches and players were asked about the now-infamous brawl between the Cowboys and Rams Tuesday that spilled into a spectator’s area at the Cowboys’ facility in Oxnard, California.
“Obviously, when you go against a new opponent, adrenaline kicks in and the competitive level is very high,” Matthew Slater said. “It’s a very good football team we’re going against. The intensity was definitely up and I think it was good for our football team to get some good work today.”
Is there a conscious effort to stay away from the brawl situations that seem to escalate quickly?
“I’m not going to comment on those situations, but I know that Coach [Bill Belichick] has always stressed that we’re here to work and just play football, and that’s what we try to do is just try to play football and not let all that other stuff come into the picture,” Slater added.
Chandler Jones joked Saturday about how no one has ever challenged him in a football fight. He took a more serious tone Wednesday after practice.
“You understand that practice is going to be very competitive,” Jones said. “We’re out here to get better. That’s what we’re doing. Our job is to get better. The Saints are trying to get better. The Patriots are trying to get better. And that’s our main goal; that’s what we’re coming out here to do every day.”
Both Jones and Slater said they were happy to get on the practice field against another team Wednesday.
“I think it’s huge,” Slater said. “I think it’s very challenging; it’s a chance to work on your craft. I know for me, I get a lot out of these things, so I think it’s huge to be able to do this and simulate as best we can game speed in practice.
Added Jones, “It felt good to get out here and compete against a different team. You get a lot of different looks, and it’s good for our team.”
Jones said the tempo is similar to what he’s seen in the last two weeks in Foxboro.
“I feel like the coaches do a good job of getting on the same page and merging the practices together, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Jones said.
|Matthew Slater on D&H: Tom Brady is ‘the ultimate professional’||08.18.15 at 6:00 am ET|
Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater joined Dale & Holley with Thornton on Patriots Monday. Slater talked about Tom Brady and the leaders of the 2015 squad. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
The biggest storyline of the offseason, which has continued into training camp, is the lingering potential four-game suspension for Tom Brady. Fortunately, the team doesn’t need to worry about it negatively effecting Brady.
“I think Tom is the ultimate professional,” Slater said. “His focus is laser-like. He loves the game of football. He’s always going to do whatever he can to put the team first and to be a great teammate and have himself prepared. You really appreciate playing with a guy like Tom. You really appreciate his body of work he’s been able to put together over the course of his career. I know he’ll handle this like a professional and it’s up to the other 89 guys on this team to get themselves better, to continue to prepare and to continue to make steps in the right direction.”
As a captain, Slater knows what it takes to be a leader. The Patriots lost one of their biggest in the offseason when Wilfork departed for the Texans. When asked who are the two biggest leaders on the team this year, Slater named Brady, as well as Jerod Mayo.
“You look at this football team and two guys come to mind — obviously Tom [Brady] for what he’s done here. His body of work speaks for itself and the way he’s stepped up time and time again. And I think Jerod Mayo is a guy who really can relate to every guy in that locker room,” Slater said. “He’s able to touch every guy in that locker room and you’re able to appreciate having those two guys in that locker room and what they mean to this football team.”
Here are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Special teams captain Matthew Slater happy to be back on field||08.11.15 at 7:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — Suffice to say, red isn’t Matthew Slater‘s favorite color.
The Patriots special teams captain returned to the practice field for the first time this summer, but he was in a red non-contact jersey, the result of offseason shoulder surgery. That meant he was on the field for the initial series of stretches, warmups and drills, but sat for the contact work
While it was nice just to be back out there with his teammates, Slater wasn’t happy about not being a full go after being unable to put on pads for the first nine practices of camp.
“Not fun. Red means stop,” he said with a smile after his first on-field work of the summer. “It’s not something that I’m used to doing, but the medical staff knows what’s best for me, so you just have to listen to the doctor’s orders and take it one day at a time.
“It’s my job to be obedient, listen to the staff,” he added. “They have a plan. They’ve done this before, so I’m just trying to do everything that they want to have me do and take it one day at a time — and hopefully come back and be a contributing member of this team.”
The four-time Pro Bowler confessed to having some butterflies in advance of his return to the practice field.
|Bill Belichick feels special transition from Scott O’Brien to Joe Judge: ‘I think he’s a great young coach’||08.01.15 at 3:32 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It takes a lot for Bill Belichick to feel comfortable handing over his special teams unit after it’s been coached by one of the best assistants he’s ever had.
But in Joe Judge, Belichick feels as though he has someone who can begin to fill the shoes of Scotty O’Brien, who walked away from his special teams job after the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale.
What has the transition been like so far in OTAs and minicamp?
“Smooth,” Belichick said. “Scott was a great coach, as good a coach as anybody I’ve ever been with and around, did a tremendous job. I learned a ton from Scott. I know Joe did, too, or has. But Joe is a great coach in his own right. Each of us have our own style.
“Joe has his own style, but very well prepared, very thorough, has great experience in the kicking game and all of the situations and techniques, both with the specialists and all the other positions on the field. Joe and I spend a lot of time together. I think he’s a great young coach.”
|Matthew Slater calls Tom Brady ‘heartbeat’ of Patriots||07.29.15 at 2:02 pm ET|
On Wednesday, the special teams captain made it clear how much he supports the signal-caller he’s known since he was drafted out of UCLA in 2008.
“I think it’s safe to say that Tom is the heartbeat of this team,” Slater said. “He’s been here longer than any player. He set the standard. He’s earned everything he’s accomplished in this league. You respect the way he approaches his craft. With that, you have 89 other guys that try to do the same thing and really try to buy into what we’re doing here. We realize that we have to work hard in order for us to have success. Nobody is going to give us anything. Nobody cares what we did last year. It’s all about taking it year to year and I think Tom is a great example of that.
“All of us in here are part of a family. We come from a family and the guys in this locker room, we feel as those we’re family in there. Good or bad, things happen in life and you stick with your family, no matter what the outcome. I think that’s the way we’re going to approach it.”
Slater also threw his complete support behind the comments from team owner Robert Kraft and appreciated the owner speaking up hours earlier, taking some of the heat off players and coaches.
“Look, Mr. Kraft is the captain of this ship,” Slater said. “He’s the captain of this organization so he speaks for all of us when he speaks. I think he said everything that needed to be said.
“In the meantime, we’re just going to focus on playing football. We’re going to focus on improving ourselves through training camp and take it one day at a time.”
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