2018 Season Preview

NFL Notebook: On verge of 2018 season, veteran Matt Slater helps us take pulse of Patriots

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(Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In this week’s edition of the NFL Notebook, we look at Keion Crossen’s quarterbacking skills, Bill Belichick’s methods for dealing with an undisciplined defensive lineman against a running quarterback, and Dont’a Hightower’s “Welcome to the NFL” moment. But first, we ask veteran Matthew Slater for his take on the state of the roster heading into the 2018 season.

1. No one has a better feel for the mood and energy of the Patriots’ locker room than Slater. The veteran, who is going into his 11th season in the NFL, is the spiritual leader on the roster, and one of the most well-respected players among his teammates over the last dozen or so years, ranking up there with the likes of Kevin Faulk.

Between the respect he commands, his background in his game of football, and his own experiences in 10 years in the league, he has excellent perspective. All that makes him really good when it comes to understanding where the team stands at any given point on the calendar. He’s never been the type to trash his teammates when things aren’t going well, but he’s a go-to guy when it comes to taking the temperature of the New England locker room. And now, on the verge of the 2018 campaign, he told me this week he feels good about the state of the roster for a few reasons,