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

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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."

Some Patriots kneel, others stand and link arms during national anthem

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Some Patriots kneel, others stand and link arms during national anthem

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took different approaches as the National Anthem played on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Many, including safety and captain Devin McCourty, took a knee. Others stood and linked arms. 

On the opposite sideline, it appeared as though every member of the Texans stood on the sidelines and linked arms. 

Those joining McCourty on a knee included Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Lawrence Guy, Johnson Bademosi, Alan Branch, Brandon King, Malcom Brown and rookies Deatrich Wise and Adam Butler. 

Among those linking arms were Tom Brady, Phillip Dorsett, Cassius Marsh, Matthew Slater, David Harris and Dwayne Allen.

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