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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Slater: Texans 'feel like they owe us'

By Mike Reiss

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater held a news conference on Tuesday and he explained how the team expects the Texans to approach Sunday's game.

"These guys are going to come in here hungry, and feel like they owe us," Slater said.  

Slater's remarks echo what Texans running back Arian Foster said after Houston's 19-13 win over the Bengals on Saturday. Foster said he feels like the Texans owe the Patriots one, according to NFL Network, after they lost to the Patriots 42-14 on Dec. 10.

Here were the questions Slater was asked, with a quick soundbite from his response:

1. What has it been like to be part of this special teams group this year?
"Overall, it's been one of the most fun seasons I've had as a part of this team. Hopefully we keep it going."

2. How important is playoff experience?
"I think it helps a little bit, but every year is a different year."

3. How do you describe the change from the regular season to playoffs to those who haven't experienced it?
"I think we can try to preach to them all week, and try to put it in their head, but I know for me until I got out there and actually felt it, I didn't understand what it was like."

4. In terms of intensity and speed, comparing the change from preseason to regular season to the regular season to playoffs...
"I agree with that, definitely. The preseason obviously is a different feel and then you go to the regular season and it's a much different feel, the speed. I think the jump is just as drastic from the regular season to the postseason. It's a one-game season for everybody. Nobody is holding anything back."

5. How hungry are you personally based on recently coming up short in the playoffs?
"I think the sole reason you play this game is to be the best. You want to be the best team and this is the ultimate team sport. To be able to come as close as we did last year, and have past failures in my previous seasons here, it just drives you and motivates you more. We're a team that's very hungry. We don't feel like we've accomplished anything. We don't feel like we've arrived at all because it's all for naught unless you do something in the postseason. We're very driven, very motivated, very focused -- myself personally and my teammates. We feel like we have a lot left to accomplish and hopefully we're going to do that."

6. Are there any benefits to playing a team after facing them in regular season?
"You're familiar with their personnel. Usually a team like Houston, we wouldn't have played them in the regular season. We have some familiarity with their personnel and schemes, but I think it's important for us not to rely on our past game and expect this game to go the same way."

7. Any drawbacks to playing the same team again?
"I wouldn't say there are."

8. Does being familiar with personnel impact preparations at all?
"I think it will a little bit. You go back and look at the tape and see what things worked for you as an individual and team, and what things didn't go so well. I think you can kind of know what to focus on. ... Experience is a great teacher."

9. How big of a value is the experience of the coaching staff in the playoffs?
"I think our coaches do a tremendous job each and every week of putting us in great positions to have success. This staff knows how to prepare for the postseason."

10. Which team has more pressure?
"I think both teams have a lot of pressure on them. It's a one-game season. Whoever doesn't perform well, their season is over."

11. Have you noticed a positive impact from having the bye?
"It was definitely a good opportunity for us to take some time and kind of lick our wounds a little bit, but I don't expect it to give us some great edge or advantage come Sunday."