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Sat., Mar. 28, 2015 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM EDT
Sun., Mar. 29, 2015 12:00 AM to 10:59 PM EDT
Mon., Mar. 30, 2015 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM EDT
Matthew Slater Press Conference Transcript
Q: In studying them can you guys gain information from what you did in the last game and what they did in the last game going forward into this particular game?
MS: I think there's a lot to be learned from looking at the game tape from the last game. You see some things that we were able to do well and have success doing and some things that we didn't do as well. I think experience is the best teacher and we experienced a lot of game situations with those guys in the last game and hopefully we'll be able to carry that over and be better prepared for the situations we may face come Saturday.
Q: How big of a weapon is Matt Prater?
MS: He's huge. He's definitely one of the best kickers in this league. He's been very productive for them, not only field goal kicking but touchbacks and some onside kick opportunities that he's had. He's a big part of their team [and] he's a big part of the reason they've had success. He's kicked some game-winning field goals that have helped that team get to where they are now.
Q: How does playing them here Saturday night as opposed to the Mile High air change the way you will cover?
MS: I guess we have to be ready to cover down more kickoffs. There aren't going to be as many touchbacks, especially as you see the temperatures drop this weekend; the ball isn't going to carry as far. I wouldn't expect there to be as many touchbacks and more opportunities in the return game.
Q: Have you guys been disappointed with the kick return game? It seems like you've struggled to get any spark there.
MS: We're definitely not satisfied with our production; it's been too inconsistent. But we can learn from that. In the postseason, we feel like we still believe in the guys back there, we still believe in our scheme and we feel like we have a chance to make some plays to help this team down the stretch. We can't get frustrated; we just have to stay at it and keep practicing. Obviously, we're not satisfied with the standard that we've set here in the past with what we've done this year. But here's a chance for us to get better in the postseason.
Q: Is there anything about Bill Belichick that stands out to you? Is consistency in his approach the big thing with him?
MS: Yes, definitely. You know what to expect week-in and week-out with him. Like Brian [Waters] was saying, the attention to detail is always there, it doesn't matter if it's a bye week or if it's a Divisional Playoff round. He's committed to winning and that commitment never falters, no matter what the circumstance, no matter how much success we've had or how many games we may have lost in a row. That commitment to winning is always there.
Q: Tim Tebow has become a lightning rod because he expresses his faith so openly. You're very much the same way. Is there an atmosphere now that it is easier around the league to express your faith openly?
MS: Definitely. I think Tim has brought an awareness to our faith. He's taken some criticism for it that has been positive and negative. I think people are thinking more about it now; it's more a topic of conversation than it ever has been. My hat is off to him for what he is doing as far as our faith is concerned. Good or bad, I think he's doing the right thing. I think that he's challenging other believers across the league to maybe be more open about their beliefs as well.
Q: How important was the bye week to have that extra preparation time?
MS: Very important. I mentioned last week that it was a chance for us to self-scout and see the things that we could improve upon going into this postseason - things that we're going to have to improve upon to get where we want to get this postseason. Secondly, the rest aspect. We've had a tough year injury-wise and just to be able to get guys a couple extra days of rest, a week off of banging their bodies around, was huge.
Q: Given the way that they came into the postseason, losing three games in a row, were you surprised to see them here?
MS: Not at all. This is a team that is in the position they're in for a reason. They do a lot of things well. You get this deep in the playoffs or in the playoffs in general, anybody is capable of advancing. They're there for a reason. These guys have done things over the course of the season very well. Defensively, they've played great. Tim [Tebow] has made a lot of plays for them, but it's not just Tim; it's all those guys, all 53 of those guys on that team have done things to help them win. When you go and play the game on Sunday, anything can happen, so I'm not surprised to see them here at all.
Q: Are you guys more aware of trying to force turnovers, especially in the special teams game where you can change field position so rapidly?
MS: Turnovers are huge throughout the course of the regular season, but particularly in the playoffs. They can be momentum-changing plays [and] can change the outcome of the game. We're very aware of that. It's something that we stress all season long though, so the urgency in that department is not going to be any different than it has been all season.
Q: Is it easier to play for Bill Belichick because you know what to expect from him each week?
MS: I guess in some ways it makes him [easier]. I guess you'd say that. You do know what to expect, that doesn't mean it's easy, but you know what to expect. You know what your role is going to be, what job you have to go out and do and what's going to happen if you don't do it. I guess you can't really ask for much more as a professional, from that standpoint.
Q: There are a number of guys in the locker room who will be making their playoff debut. What was your first playoff experience like?
MS: It was very exciting for me personally. Unfortunately in my college career, [I] didn't win a whole lot of games, so it was fun to come here and win and be in the hunt for a championship. I had a lot of nerves. I remember just the nerves and excitement going out there, playing in the postseason knowing that the opportunity that we had, they don't come around very often. We've been fortunate enough around here to win a lot of games, but guys go years in their career and don't get that chance. I think I had an appreciation for it, a sense of excitement and I enjoyed the experience. Hopefully the outcome can be different this time, though.