Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/6/12
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
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

LSU attempts to make South Carolina feel at home during relocated game

Maryland players call Ohio State players ‘spoiled, entitled and not No. 1’

WATCH: Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell makes aburd one-handed TD catch

Ivo Karlovic loses but breaks another tennis record

Utah paying tribute to past with throwback jerseys

WATCH: Western Kentucky scores on throw by WR


WATCH: 400-pound Baylor TE makes defender miss for TD

WATCH: Braxton Miller triple-jukes Maryland defender

UCLA punter suspended indefinitely arrest in rape case

Oregon walk-on QB Taylor Alie reportedly to start vs. WSU

FSU fan posts 'missing' signs for Miami's football program

Greg Hardy stars in rap video, fires back at critics

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dwight Howard, image & Houston's title chances

10 unheralded NFL players who will impact Week 5

Five potential upsets in NFL Week 5

Why the Carolina Panthers are the NFL's next super power

NHL Department of Player Safety inconsistent in disciplining players?

Explaining the silence on Thabo Sefolosha’s police brutality trial

Six biggest matchups in Week 6 of CFB

Joe Maddon's defensive calculus

Sepp Blatter appeals FIFA suspension

Looking at four NHL goaltenders who debuted for new teams

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker