Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/19/14
FOXBORO, Mass. — Donte Stallworth is back in New England. But he’s not the only veteran with a chance to fill the Patriots’ void at wide receiver. When Julian Edelman went down with a broken foot during Sunday’s win in Miami, Stallworth — who had worked out for the Patriots just a week earlier — was brought in as his replacement.  But the veteran receiver may need some time to get reacclimated to the intricacies of the Patriots’ offense, so Matthew Slater is preparing to live out the Patriots’ mantra as the “next man up.” “Whatever the coaches ask of me, whatever they decide will be the best for this team. It will give us the best chance at success” Slater said. “So, just for me, I just have to be ready.” The Patriots’ special teams captain and an AFC Pro Bowler in 2011, Slater is a valuable talent. But he hasn’t had much experience in the Patriots’ offense since entering the NFL. Slater’s been targeted just six times — half coming last season — and has caught just one pass — also last year — in five NFL seasons. This year hasn’t been much different, as he’s seen maybe a dozen offensive snaps, which might even be generous, and hasn’t spent much time with the first unit in practice either. With so few reps on offense, Slater isn’t exactly the ideal replacement for a reliable threat like Edelman — a reality he’s well aware of. But he’s still preparing for the chance, just in case. “Anytime you lose a guy as dynamic as Julian, as a group collectively you have to step up. So, some of us may be called on to do more,” Slater said. “I know as a backup you have to be ready at any time of the year. Your number may never get called, or it may be called early, late. Whatever it is, you have to try to be ready, and hopefully not have a huge drop off when you come in the game.” Without Edelman, the Patriots are left with just four healthy wide receivers on their roster — Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Stallworth and Slater. That means each receiver’s preparation is critical to success come Monday night. Slater may not see the necessary reps in practice like other receivers, so he’s focusing on his studies to get ready. “You may not see many physical reps in practice, but mentally you have to be on top of everything because you don’t know when your number’s going to get called,” Slater said, before delving into specifics. “It’s a combination of things. Definitely being familiar with your opponent from week to week, but definitely I think being in the playbook is the biggest thing. So, I think the mental preparation and the studying from that side of things is really what you have to focus on.” As for his chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady, Slater knows the expectations aren’t any different than that for Welker, Lloyd or Edelman. And even without the practice time, Slater holds himself to that standard. “I think his expectations and demands are the same for every guy,” Slater added. “So, I can’t make any excuse. If my number’s called, I got to be ready to go.” Slater’s primary role will still be on special teams this weekend and going forward this season, but at least Bill Belichick knows that, if necessary, he has another option ready and waiting. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here. Photo via Wikipedia/Matthew Slater
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Ray McDonald arrested for violating restraining order

Braves, Dodgers complete six-player swap

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

Report: Tom Brady suspension appeal date not set yet

Are the St. Louis Rams setting up Nick Foles for failure?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LeBron: Didn't see Cavs reaching Finals at start of season

Pete Carroll: Communication with Russell Wilson is ‘great’

Mike Zimmer: Adrian Peterson can play for Vikings or not at all

RG3 misses 'having fun playing football' after two tough seasons

Houston mayor's office weighs in on Kaepernick Instagram post

Dallas Cowboys using drones to tape practice sessions

Garrick Sherman bashes NCAA in epic drunken Twitter rant

Adrian Peterson denies reports that he wants to be traded

Report: Bulls players told Tom Thibodeau will not be back

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders "gets it"

Bucs DE George Johnson is a dog show enthusiast

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Corey Crawford is the weakest link for the Blackhawks

Propaganda season begins with SEC spring meetings

Indians support Aviles, ailing daughter by shaving heads

McIlroy will donate his winnings if he wins Irish Open

Carlos Gomez on tiff with Bumgarner: 'He's not my dad'

Are the Texas Rangers contenders or pretenders?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Corey Crawford is the weakest link for the Blackhawks

Star player missing OTAs? Keep calm...

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.