Slater's displeasure with Sunday special teams obvious


Slater's displeasure with Sunday special teams obvious

FOXBORO -- Know this: Matthew Slater is a stand-up guy. 
Slater is a five-year veteran though seems well wiser. He's captain of New England's special teams unit, but can be counted on to answer nearly anything in a thoughtful manner. 
When he spoke Monday after New England's 41-28 Divisional Playoff win over Houston, something was different. Slater wasn't smiling. His answers were brief. 
As far as Patriots special teams were concerned, the captain wasn't happy.
"We gotta get better." 
Kickoff return coverage was as bad against the Texans as it's been all season. New England gave up 216 yards to Houston safety Danieal Manning alone, including 94 yards on the game's opening boot. 
Sunday night Slater said the unit would have to watch the film to better understand what went wrong. This afternoon, after Monday's meetings, he was asked what he learned. 
"There were several breakdowns."
Well. He's not wrong. New England allowed the third-fewest yards per kickoff return (20.7)  in 2012's regular season. Manning averaged 54.0 yards per attempt Sunday. 
Any issues must be fixed before the Patriots host Baltimore in the AFC Championship. 
Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones is a handful for any team. Jones was recently named both to the AFC Pro Bowl team as well as the Associated Press' All-Pro squad. No player had a better kickoff return average than his 30.7 yards. No player had more kickoffs brought in for touchdowns than Jones' two. 
Slater expressed the urgency in preparing for Baltimore, for Jones.  
"It's very important. We know we need to perform better," Slater said. "We can't put our defense in bad situations, like I said last night. But we're on to the next game. We've got to prepare for Jacoby Jones. We know how good he is and what he's capable of." 
The plan for making corrections is simple enough. 
"Just go back to the basics," Slater explained. "Go back to the fundamentals and the rules that we have as coverage players. Just doing out job better and doing our assignments better. 
"It's been a strength for us this season; kickoff coverage has been a strength for us. I'm confident that we'll get it fixed."

Roethlisberger responds to Edelman comments: 'We've got our trophies'

Roethlisberger responds to Edelman comments: 'We've got our trophies'

On Monday, Julian Edelman took a light shot at the Steelers when asked about Antonio Brown streaming Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech on Facebook Live. 

"That's how that team is run," Edelman said on WEEI Monday. "I personally don't think that would be something that would happen in our locker room, but hey, whatever. Some people like red and some people like blue. Some people like tulips and some people like roses. Whatever."

Ben Roethlisberger, one of the players who was speaking during Brown’s video, was asked to respond to Edelman’s comments Wednesday. He did so by saying the Steelers are run in a manner that’s gotten them six Super Bowl championships. 

“I don’t think I need to speak much,” Roethlisberger said. “We’ve got our trophies out there. I’ve got owners that I think are the best in the business. They’re family to us, and I’m sure if he talked to his owner, he would say the same thing about the Rooneys. Anybody in here in the football world or the regular world that owns the Rooneys knows what they stand for. It’s a blessing to call them a family.”

Brown, whose actions were admonished by Tomlin Tuesday, could be fined if the NFL determines that he violated the league’s social media policy. The policy is as follows: 

"The use of social media by coaches, players, and other club football operations personnel is prohibited on game day (including halftime) beginning 90 minutes before kickoff until after the post-game locker room is open to the media and players have first fulfilled their obligation to be available to the news media who are at the game."

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