Slater receives special praise from Belichick Friday


Slater receives special praise from Belichick Friday

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick takes pains to equalize his players in the media. Patriots have said their coach does it in practice and meeting rooms as well, but it's flat-out obvious in his press conferences. Ask him to comment on a Tom Brady 500-yard passing performance and Belichick will make sure to lasso the entire offensive line into his answer. 
An exception was made Friday. 
When asked about the work of special teams captain Matt Slater, Belichick unleashed effusive praise. He even invoked the ghost of special teams ace Larry Izzo (a Patriot from 2001 to 2008) as a reference point.   
"In my time here Ive been very fortunate to have two outstanding, I mean exemplary, players at leadership positions on special teams with Larry Izzo and Matt Slater. I thought that really when we had Larry that that was, thered never be another one like that, that that was so rare and Matts different than Larry but I think in his own way equally effective. Matts really, hes tremendous. His attitude, his work ethic, the example that he sets, the way he interacts with his teammates in a really good way. 
"I dont know that a player could do anymore than what hes done for us in that role for the last several years, probably since after his second year. Hes embraced his role on the team, hes been very good at it and he makes other players around him better. I think thats a great compliment to him and the job he does. Hes smart, hes well prepared, he works hard, he has good skill, good talent, hes tough, hes a good playmaker for us. I could go on about him all day. Were lucky to have him on this football team. He does a tremendous job for us." 
Slater was informed later in the locker room of Belichick's compliments. He bowed immediately, reverently, to his predecessor. 
"First things first, I'm no Larry Izzo. Larry was a tremendous player and I can only hope to accomplish the things that he was able to accomplish." 
His humility may stem in part from being selected in the fifth round of 2008's NFL draft. Though he was a First-team All-Pac-10 player and First-team All-American in 2007, Slater does not take New England's choice for granted. 
"It means a lot for me to be a part of this organization and represent this team as a captain of this team. I'm just so thankful -- I thank God every day for the opportunity that I've had to be here. I'm enjoying the ride the whole way and getting an opportunity to play in games like this means a lot, and obviously it means a lot that Coach took a chance on me coming out of school. Not a lot of people would have." 
The fact the Patriots did, Slater believes, has everything to do with the bench boss. 
"I feel like Coach Belichick understands and respects the game of football. And he understands that all three phases are going to help you win. That has been something that's been stressed to me since I got here Day One and understanding that, if you're going to be a championship caliber team, you have to be good in all three phases. I've really tried to just buy into that mentality and do what I can to carry that end of the bargain, pull my weight around here."

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week. 

"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."

Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.

"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."

Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."

Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.

"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."