Matthew Slater enters new career territory

New England Patriots v Baltimore Ravens
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Patriots receiver and special-teams savant Matthew Slater joined the team in 2008. The Patriots have won at least 10 games every year of his career.

For the first time in his 13 NFL seasons, Slater has to find the motivation to essentially play out the string.

This is new territory for me as a pro,” Slater said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “I’m trying to take it in stride. My message to the guys is that we have to finish what we start. There’s going to be things in life that you start, and you envision them going a certain way, and they don’t go that way. That’s a part of life. You have to find a way to finish what you started, and hopefully at the end of that, you’re a better man, a better woman for it. I’m going to encourage the guys to keep fighting to the finish and represent ourselves in the best way possible.”

In the season of stubborn refusals to concede, Slater’s comments sound a lot like a recognition that it’s over for the Patriots. Mathematically it’s not, but even if they beat the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets, 9-7 probably won’t be good enough to get the seventh seed in 2020.

In Slater’s rookie season, 11-5 wasn’t good enough for the sixth seed. But they remained alive through Week 17. This year, for the first time in a very long time, the Patriots have games to play and no real reason to do so, because they already know that, come January, they’ll be one of the 18 teams going home, while 14 of them continue.

6 responses to “Matthew Slater enters new career territory

  1. I just wonder how bad Stidham looks for Belichick to keep starting Newton.

    You can say all you want about lack of talent at the skill positions but Newton has looked terrible will little to no pocket awareness. Also, the pick six against the Rams was terrible, how you can just see a pile of bodies and blindly throw into it hoping for the best is beyond my comprehension.

    If the playoffs are a faint hope as it is let’s see what Stidham can do.

  2. Someone best be watching Bill. I am sure he is coming up with his new cheating scheme. It’s what NE patriots do best

  3. Zombie – you made some good points, but there’s a small factor that for a $1m salary, Belichick doesn’t want to yank Newton as it doesn’t help Newton going into free agency. BB has been known to do solids for veterans from time to time. The team around Cam is horrendous – zero tight ends (STILL!!!) and while I give the kids credit, there’s no one at the WR position that makes defenses take notice. It’s a crippled team. Either by way of really poor drafts over the last few years (taking TEs in a WR-rich draft and taking WR in a TE-rich draft) and COVID opt-outs…the team is a shell of itself.

  4. Ytsejamer1 says:
    December 13, 2020 at 10:06 am
    Zombie – you made some good points, but there’s a small factor that for a $1m salary, Belichick doesn’t want to yank Newton as it doesn’t help Newton going into free agency. BB has been known to do solids for veterans from time to time.
    ________________

    If Belichick is willing to gamble the future just to throw a bone to a player that he has coached for six months, I’m willing to bet that wouldn’t sit well with the locker room. More likely is that Stidham isn’t the guy and Bill doesn’t need to see him get embarrassed by division opponents just to prove it to the fans and media.

  5. I also believe zombie raises some interesting points.Can anybody remember Belichick singling out Brady after a loss? Can anyone remember Brady ever getting yanked regardless of his play? Belichick always gives loyalty to his starting QB, until its time to turn a page. Everyone knew Tom wasn’t at his best at the tail end of 2019. Most people knew his salary expectations and the cap position drew some undeniable conclusions. But he stuck with him until the last snap.

    There will be some attractive QB options that might open up during the offseason. I would have to think New England would be a favorable landing spot for some of these veterans, shown this loyalty. Carson Wentz would be high on my list. I can see him waiving the no trade clause for NE. Matthew Stafford is 32, and has won nothing.

    Patriots are not far off. I’m starting to like the 2020 draft class. The tight ends will show up with a more talented passer. A frozen rope seam pass isn’t in the arsenal currently.

  6. If Belichick is willing to gamble the future just to throw a bone to a player that he has coached for six months, I’m willing to bet that wouldn’t sit well with the locker room. More likely is that Stidham isn’t the guy and Bill doesn’t need to see him get embarrassed by division opponents just to prove it to the fans and media. Hes letting the one year rental take the beating instead of stidham the kid will get his shot to compete for the gig next season.

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