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Brenden Schooler ready to help replace Matthew Slater on and off the field

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By: Brian Hines

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Schooler enters his third-year in the NFL.

For the first two years of his NFL career, specialist Brenden Schooler watched Matthew Slater’s every move. With Slater now retired (and holding an advisor role with the team), Schooler is ready to take what he learned from the 10-time Pro Bowler to help fill his shoes.

That starts off-the-field, where the 26-year old has taken a larger leadership role through the early stages of the New England Patriots offseason program.

“Being one of those guys that has a lot of game experience, especially when you’re talking about special teams and that core group, I think trying to take more of a leadership role,” Schooler said Tuesday. “Matt was the guy in the past few seasons I was here. So just taking that leadership role and then holding those guys to a certain standard.

“Any little bit of information I have, like a tip or anything. I’m trying to help these young guys, bring along with us because the faster they get acclimated to the game, and the more they know then it’s better for the whole team in general. So it’s been it’s been fun kind of taking on that new role.”

Despite entering just his third season, Schooler has quickly become the veteran in the special teams room. In addition to Slater, veteran Cody Davis retired while the team also released Chris Board this offseason.

Schooler, who has stayed in touch with Davis in addition to Slater, is now passing down the lessons he learned from the veterans to his younger teammates.

“I don’t know everything. I’ll be the first one to say that and those guys between the two of them have 20-plus years experience in this league,” Schooler said. “I’m not like a big rah-rah guy. I’m going to go out there and I’m going to work my tail off and I’m going to lead through example. So just doing it, showing up every day not only for myself but for these guys to set an example, especially young guys.

“It’s ‘this is how things are supposed to be done.’ I got to work with guys who are super successful at what they do for 10-plus years. So, just showing these young guys what the standard is going to be just because I got to learn underneath those guys and they set the bar super high. And I’m still trying to chase that bar.”

The lessons Schooler learned will extend on the field as well, where the Patriots will need him at his best yet again to replace the lost production.

While Schooler plays with his emotions on his sleeve, he hopes to take on a more “even-kneeled” approach this season — perhaps helping him cut down on his team-high five penalties last season. He credits Slater with helping him in that area.

“Having guys like Matthew in the building kind of helped me navigate a season like we had last year through the ups and the downs. I think it kind of helped me be more even-keel because I love this game and I’m emotional when I play it,” Schooler said.

“That’s something I’m going to try to take into [this season] — be that rock and even-keel leader. No matter what’s going on on the field, I’m going to be the same guy every day.”

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit