Patriots

Gillette Stadium is ready for Patriots' Super Bowl LIII championship banner

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USA TODAY Sports

Gillette Stadium is ready for Patriots' Super Bowl LIII championship banner

After some construction and moving things around, Gillette Stadium is ready for the New England Patriots to show off their Super Bowl LIII championship banner.

Take a look at the latest changes to Gillette Stadium in the photo below. You'll see the spot for the team's sixth Super Bowl banner has been added.

The Patriots will unveil their Super Bowl LIII banner during a special pre-game ceremony before a Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It will be the third time New England has unveiled a Super Bowl banner before a season-opening game versus Pittsburgh.

The Steelers are fitting opponent for this year's unveiling because the Patriots' 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII tied them with Pittsburgh for the most Super Bowl titles.

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Patriots' Matthew Slater got to channel his Hall of Fame dad at the goal line

Patriots' Matthew Slater got to channel his Hall of Fame dad at the goal line

Matthew Slater, the Patriots' All-Pro special team ace, found himself added to the Patriots goal-line package four times in their blowout victory over the Dolphins on Sunday.

Two of those snaps resulted in touchdowns - Sony Michel's 1-yard run on the opening drive and Tom Brady's sneak in the third quarter.  

What's he think of his less-than-familiar role as an added blocker in the jumbo package? He learned from the best.

“I try to do my best Jackie Slater impersonation there,” Slater told reporters in the locker room Wednesday in Foxboro. His father, Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, anchored the Rams offensive line for 20 years.

“I get to live my dream out of being a blocking guy like my dad was. I’ve always enjoyed doing that. If the team asks you to do something, you try to step up and do it and help the team in order to be successful. I always get a kick out of that when I get a chance to do it.”

With only two tight ends currently on the 53-man roster, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo, who were both used in those goal-line packages, Bill Belichick can count on the versatile 34-year-old veteran to pick up the blocking slack.

"Matt’s done that before, and it just really depends on what we’re trying to do and what the options are,” Belichick told reporters at his Wednesday press conference. “We have a couple of receivers that are fairly new to the team in terms of being on the field like with Antonio [Brown] and Josh [Gordon]. We have other receivers like Gunner [Olszewski] and Phil (Dorsett) that aren’t the biggest guys, physically, in terms of putting them on the goal line or dealing with things like that."

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Adam Gase explains what Jets were looking for in Demaryius Thomas trade

Adam Gase explains what Jets were looking for in Demaryius Thomas trade

The New England Patriots hadn't made a trade with the New York Jets during Bill Belichick's 20-year tenure in Foxboro until the defending champs dealt veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Big Apple after their Week 1 win.

Thomas was signed by the Patriots in May, but after the addition of elite wide receiver Antonio Brown last week, they moved on from Thomas and sent him to the Jets for a 2021 sixth-round pick

Jets head coach Adam Gase was asked about the trade during his media conference call Wednesday, and he explained what New York was looking for when it made the call to the Patriots.

"I think when (Jets general manager) Joe Douglas came to me, and when (Antonio Brown) got there, we were kind of in a situation where if we could find somebody that had knowledge of the system, that could help us, that was somebody that fit what we were looking for, which obviously Demaryius does," Gase said. "We were trying to figure out, 'How could we go about this?' I think to Joe's credit, he was like, 'I'm just going to call him and the worst they could say is no.' And when they said, "Let's talk," then those guys worked it out."

Trading with a division rival is difficult, but Belichick isn't afraid to make that kind of move if he feels it will help his team.

"We don't want to help the Jets, and they don't want to help us," Belichick said Tuesday. "We're in the same division, so they're not the easiest trades to make. ... But in the end, if it helps us in the other 14 games and helps our team, then it's something that's worth considering. We'll try to help our team in any way we can."

Belichick also added: "When you look at the beginning of each year, inter-division trading is probably not something that you think is going to be at the top of the list," Belichick added. "But we traded with Buffalo this year, too (acquiring center Russell Bodine from the Bills), so we made two inter-division trades within a week. You never know."

Thomas made his Jets debut during Monday night's loss to the Cleveland Browns. He made one catch for minus-1 yard on two targets.

The 31-year-old wide receiver didn't participate in Wednesday's practice due to a hamstring/knee injury, so it's uncertain if he'll play against the Patriots on Sunday.

Jets coach has high praise for Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore>>>

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