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Sun., Apr. 26, 2015 12:00 AM to 10:59 PM EDT
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Matthew Slater Press Conference Transcript
MS: I don't know, you'd have to ask our strength coaches and my teammates.
Q: I ask because this could be a week where your speed could be put to use getting ready for a speedy player in T.Y. Hilton.
MS: I guess that's a possibility. You try to give it as good a look as you can when you do guys throughout the course of the week. Obviously it's tough to simulate T.Y. – he's an explosive player, he's a unique player but we're doing the best we can.
Q: Both the Patriots and Colts have shown the ability to overcome injuries this season. What does that say about a team?
MS: I think that obviously speaks to the leadership that's in place. I think we both have good coaches. Then it says a lot about the player leadership and the mental toughness that's there; being able to adapt through adversity and through tough situations that we've been in. Usually that's the case with the teams that are left in it at this point. There's usually a lot of mental toughness on those teams and a lot of good leadership in place, good coaching and that goes a long way.
Q: At this time of year, what do you try to impart on players who haven't been to the playoffs much or are making their first trip?
MS: I think it's good to just send that message that we need to have a sense of urgency, sense of purpose, with every rep that we take knowing that there are no guarantees beyond this week. We have to go out there and try to take advantage of each and every rep on the practice field, each and every minute in the meeting room. But at the same time, we can't get tight. There's a thin line between being urgent and then being tight. I think you have to find that balance so we're just trying to get the young guys to do that and the veterans as well.
Q: Knowing Julian Edelman as well as you do, when you see him on the field, especially as a punt returner, is there anything in his personality that translates on the field?
MS: Well, I think he wouldn't mind me saying this, I think he's a very intense guy and he's very driven and focused. He's focused on improving day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out. I think that since he's been healthy this year he's been able to show that. [I'm] definitely happy to see a guy like that who has worked as hard as he has and is intense and passionate about the game of football having the success that he's having.
Q: Is he intense all the time?
MS: He's an intense guy, on and off the field.
Q: Do you think the injuries were a driving factor for him?
MS: You definitely would have to ask him that, I can't answer that question for him. But I know the young man, as well as most of the players in that locker room, all of them pretty much, we love the game of football. That's our drive. We're thankful for the opportunity that we have to represent this team, our families, playing in this league. He's no different. He's very passionate about this game. As far as what's driving him this year, I don't know personally, or I don't want to answer it rather. You'd have to ask him that.
Q: How has your appreciation for being in this position grown each year you've found yourselves in the playoffs?
MS: It's really remarkable that we've been able to do what we've done year-in and year-out but every year is different. You can't take for granted being in this position. There are years that I've been here that we haven't been in this position. What a unique opportunity it is to play in a game like this. There are no guarantees that myself or anyone else will be back in this spot while we play this game of football. So, we have to try to take advantage of it, cherish the moment, have fun, embrace it but work and approach this week in a way that will leave us with no regrets at the end of the day.
Q: With no next week guaranteed, how does that change the attitude and the focus here?
MS: The focus has to be honed just that much more because you know there's no guarantee. There's no, ‘Oh, we'll get them next week,' or ‘We'll go back and see what we can fix.' You better get it right as best you can the first go-round or you have a long couple months to think about it.
Q: Do you see guys spending extra time this week, maybe more video work or weight room work?
MS: For sure. I think that's definitely something that you'll see throughout the locker room. Whether it be a little more film, a little more in the training room, a little more rest at night. It all adds up, it all matters. I think whatever it is that we have going on in our lives we can put it on pause and just focus on preparing for the Colts this week.
Q: What do you see out of their punt and kick returners?
MS: They have a lot of guys that have been back there working for them this year. We can see T.Y. [Hilton]. He hasn't done it in a while but we can see him. [Griff] Whalen and [LaVon] Brazill are very capable guys back there. They have good leadership in their kicking game. Sergio Brown has done a tremendous job for them. Whoever it is back there we've been watching film on all those guys. We'll do our best to be ready for whoever it is that we see.
Q: You mentioned Sergio Brown and Darius Butler is in their secondary. Is there any advantage one way or the other for a receiver to go up against a guy he's played or practiced against a lot?
MS: That's tough to say. Part of me wants to say yes, but part of me knows that guys go and improve their game, change things about their game week-in and week-out, year-in and year-out obviously. Those two guys have been away for a little while and they definitely both of them have improved a great deal. You can say it's an advantage but really you have to go out and line up and play and work with what you've got.
Q: You've been around playoff teams before. Are there any signs with this team that you've seen in successful teams from the past?
MS: I try to stay away from making those comparisons. Every year is a different year. We have different players on the team, we're playing a different team. The circumstances surrounding this season are totally different.
Q: Is there anything you look for that shows you that the team gets it?
MS: I guess you try to look for, but I know me personally, even if I do see it, I'm not going to get complacent and feel like, we've got it, we've got ‘it'. I'm going to continue to challenge the guys to focus the little things and try to just approach it one day at a time.
Q: Did you see the smoothie video Julian Edelman made?
MS: I've heard tale of it. I've heard tale of it.
Q: How closely do you watch the weather forecast? Is that something you worry about in terms of understanding the elements and how it might affect the kicking game?
MS: I may take a gander at it from time to time but as a player you really can't concern yourself too much with it. Whatever it is that day, it's New England so you know it can change even if you do look at it. I let the weatherman worry about that and I just worry about playing football.