Slater leads way on special teams


Special teams captain Matthew Slater was praised by coach Bill Belichick for his performance in Sunday's 23-16 win over the Dolphins. Slater led the Patriots with two special teams tackles.

"I thought he did an excellent job yesterday," Belichick said Monday on a conference call. "He was really good for us. We only had the one kickoff and he was there on that play even though Niko [Koutouvides] really made the first hit on that.

"Overall in the punt coverage, he did a real good job. [Marcus] Thigpen is, as we know, an excellent returner. He’s strong and he’s fast and Slate was able to make those plays and not really let him get started, which you always love to see from your gunner.

"I thought he played extremely well, played hard. He got hit on that first kickoff return, our first kickoff return, he got banged up a little bit but he came back in and did everything and played well and was very productive. I thought he had an outstanding game for us. He really helped our field position and our punt coverage."

Using Slater's performance as a springboard, here is a weekly special teams look at the players who were on multiple units, which highlights their value on the 46-man game-day roster:

Four units

S Nate Ebner

LB Niko Koutouvides

LB Mike Rivera

WR Matthew Slater

LB Tracy White

Three units

CB Marquice Cole

Two units

CB Kyle Arrington

S Patrick Chung

WR Julian Edelman

S Devin McCourty

DE Trevor Scott

S Tavon Wilson