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Transcript: Matthew Slater Press Conference 11/19

Q: Is there ever a bit of a jolt coming back to that first practice after a bye or from your experience can guys get right back into it?

MS: I think everyone’s a little bit different. Maybe early on in my career, I felt a little bit of a jolt and it was like, “Oh, let’s get back to doing this.” But I don’t think myself or most of the guys in that locker room will have any problem getting back into the routine of things and getting themselves refocused on the Jets this week.

Q: What happens after Thanksgiving? I know Bill Belichick always says real football happens after Thanksgiving.

MS: I think everyone’s intensity level goes up. There’s a great sense of urgency for all the teams in the league for a variety of reasons. Certainly we’ve been fortunate to be in good position heading into Thanksgiving and we feel like we still have a lot to play for moving forward. Our focus, our intensity, everything needs to be dialed up a couple notches and every game is going to count that much more in the grand scheme of the season.

Q: Do you scoreboard watch at any point in time right now?

MS: No, I think we just need to focus on trying to play well.

Q: In the first and third quarters, you guys have had a problem coming out. Any explanation at this point for that trend?

MS: I don’t really know why. We need better focus, better execution, whether it’s the first, second, third or fourth quarter. We just have to take it upon ourselves to go out there when we’re out there and not take any plays for granted, not take any situation for granted, not wait for plays to be made but try to go make plays. I think it all comes back to just us trusting our fundamentals, trusting our process and hopefully it will come around for us.

Q: Did you watch any football yesterday?

MS: I did, I watched a little bit. I did, yeah.

Q: Steelers?

MS: No, I didn’t get a chance to watch that whole game but I saw some of the games.

Q: Can you watch them with a critical eye at that point or are you sitting there as a football fan in that moment?

MS: It’s tough to be a fan in the same way that I was before I played in the league. Having been with Coach [Bill Belichick] for 11 years, you’re always looking at situational things and putting yourself in the position of players on the field. You know, I do enjoy the game of football. I’ve been around it my entire life so I’ll always be a fan and I always have an appreciation for the guys that are out there and what they’re doing.

Q: How important is it to play well on the road against the Jets?

MS: Certainly. If we want to be the type of football team that we set out to be back in August, we’re going to have to start playing better on the road, period. We haven’t been a good team on the road this year. We haven’t brought enough energy. We haven’t started fast enough. We haven’t played consistently enough to be a good road team and that’s going to have to change. So, this is a huge game. I think the last five times we’ve been in New York, we’re 3-2. Three of the wins have been by less than a touchdown if I’m not mistaken. So we know what kind of game it’s going to be and we have to find a way to get out of there with a win. But not only that, we need to play well. We need to play with confidence. We need to play with energy, great focus, great execution. So that’s our goal for the week.

Q: Why do they traditionally play you so tough, particularly in New York? I mean, you guys have had the upper hand in the series, you’re the better team.

MS: It’s like a rivalry game in college. The records don’t matter. UCLA just beat USC this weekend and they had a better record than us and on paper, they have better players than us, but we came to play. You get emotions running, you’re not afraid of that guy because you’re seen him, you grew up with him. In our case, we’ve played these guys twice a year, every year. They’re not afraid of us. They don’t care what we’ve accomplished or who people think we are. They’re going to come out and play us tough and we expect the same thing on Sunday.

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