Slater: 'We're a team that's very hungry'


Slater: 'We're a team that's very hungry'

FOXBORO -- The shine of Lombardi Trophies past has dulled for some New England fans.
After all, the Patriots have won three Super Bowls since 2001, but have most recently lost two, in 2007 and 2011. The Patriots have gone 16-6 in playoff games since 2001, but have gone 6-6 after starting 10-0.
There have even been two seasons in the last 12 where no playoff berth was achieved at all.
The horror.
But in all seriousness, one shouldn't be too hard on those getting antsy to add to New England's hardware -- winning does create an expectation of greatness.
Just ask Vince Wilfork.He, quarterback Tom Brady, and receiver Deion Branch are the only players who remain (or were brought back, as in Branch's case) on the last Patriots team that won on Super Sunday. It was the 2004 season, Wilfork's rookie year.
Eight years later, his first title remains the only title.
Wilfork was reminded of that fact Tuesday in advance of New England's Divisional Playoff against Houston.
"Winning one early in my career, you kind of get the sense that it happens like this all the time, but it doesnt," he admitted. "Its very, very hard to win at this level at any level. We all play this game for one goal: to be champions, plain and simple. You cant take a situation and overlook it. And the situation for us is the Houston Texans."
Teammate and special teams captain Matthew Slater feels the urgency.
A Patriot since 2008, Slater has experienced a decent share of success: Five seasons with 10 or more wins, five trips to the postseason, two Super Bowl berths.
But he'll say it like everyone else on the roster, they expect to win every time they take the field. To glimpse a championship and be shut out . . .
It only intensifies the bloodlust."I think the sole reason that you play this game is to be the best and you want to be the best team," Slater said. "This is the ultimate team sport. To be able to come as close as we did last year and have past failures in my previous seasons here, it just drives you and motivates you more.
"I think that were a team thats very hungry. We dont feel like weve accomplished anything, we dont feel like weve arrived at all because its all for naught unless you do something in the postseason. Were very driven, very motivated, very focused myself personally and my teammates. We feel like we have a lot left to accomplish and hopefully were able to do that."

Felger: Sorry, Tom, but Jimmy G. and Brissett need to play Friday

Felger: Sorry, Tom, but Jimmy G. and Brissett need to play Friday

If there's any Patriots quarterback who should be getting meaningful time other than Jimmy Garoppolo on Friday in Carolina, it's not Tom Brady. It's Jacoby Brissett.

Brissett, obviously, will be the Patriots backup the first four games of the year, and the team has yet to go through the annual preseason exercise of subjecting him to the situation under which he's most likely to see time during the regular season. Typically, Bill Belichick will yank the starting QB out of the first half of an exhibition game unannounced and tell the backup to throw on his helmet and get out there. Brissett has yet to go through it, and you have to figure it's coming in the next two weeks.

Other than that, Garoppolo should see all the time while the starters are on the field. He's had little success going against the opposition's starters so far this month and needs every rep he can get. He needs to go through the routine of starting a prime-time game on the road, which will be the case Sept. 11 in Arizona.

Where does that leave Tom Brady? Stewing, probably. It's clear he wants to play. It's clear he wasn't happy missing last Thursday against Chicago and is pining for work Friday. If you were wondering how Brady would feel about losing time in training camp to Garoppolo as the Pats got ready for the regular season, you probably have your answer. He's not a fan.

There is a case to be made that the team and Belichick, in particular, owes Brady some love. Deflategate was dropped in Brady's lap from the start, and while the coach skated, the quarterback's sentence has finally become a reality. The Pats should want to make Brady happy. He deserves the respect.

But, ultimately, we ask the fallback Patriots question: What's best for the team? The answer isn't even close. Garoppolo deserves every snap, save for that potential emergency exercise with Brissett.

As for Brady's feelings? He'll get over it.

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Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak


Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak

SAN JOSE, Calif. - David Bingham had his sixth shutout of the season and the San Jose Earthquakes tied New England 0-0 on Wednesday night, extending the Revolution's winless streak to five games.

Bingham, who was tied for second in MLS soccer with 12 shutouts last season, had three saves - including a stop on Diego Fagundez's shot in the 86th minute.

The Revolution haven't scored since a 3-1 victory over Chicago on Aug. 9, a stretch of more than 270 minutes.

New England (6-11-8) had beaten San Jose three straight times.

San Jose (7-7-10) has just one loss in its last seven matches.