Matt Patricia on Malcolm Butler: It’s all about this year

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In the season opener, Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler was on the field for every defensive snap of a 42-27 loss to the Chiefs.

Butler’s playing time dropped to 75 percent of the snaps against the Saints in Week Two and didn’t start as Eric Rowe, who played a little over half the snaps each week, was on the field opposite Stephon Gilmore to open the game. Those changes led to questions about Butler for coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on Tuesday conference calls.

Belichick was asked if Butler’s play has been as consistent as it was in the past and his answer didn’t address Butler’s play specifically, but the coach said “we’re into a new season” and that he doesn’t “think anybody’s performance this season is really where it needs to be” at this point. 

Patricia talked a bit about different situations calling for different personnel, but reiterated Belichick’s point about the present taking precedence over the past.

“In terms of asking me as far as for us defensively, you know it’s all about this year,” Patricia said in comments distributed by the team. “I think what things have gone down in the past doesn’t really matter to us. We’re trying to get better for this year and the guys that are out there and positions or where we think they need to be right now currently and to help us win that particular week.”

The Patriots have never been sentimental about players when they feel they have a better option. That said, we are only two games into a long season and there will be further changes to the way the Patriots deploy their defensive backs so it probably isn’t the time to draw any big conclusions about how the coaching staff views Butler.

43 responses to “Matt Patricia on Malcolm Butler: It’s all about this year

  1. Eric Rowe was actually a decent corner when he was with Philly. Still have no idea why we gave up on him, still seems like a Howie Roseman power trip, but with Jalen Mills playing really solid, Darby coming back soon and a nice debut from Rasul Douglas we aren’t in terrible shape at corner. Sidney Jones next year too.

  2. This was more about getting a larger person on Coleman, which is obviously Eric Rowe.

    Butler is the defacto slot CB at the moment, due to some size limitations. If the idea was to play mostly man with Chung as the Big Nickel/Rover on Fleener, that left Butler as the small nickel on any slot WR NOs would show.

    This is not rocket sicence. Butler has not been benched nor is he playing worse than anyone else in the secondary.

    With Rowe tweaking his leg on Sunday, Butler figures to play a big role, likely on Will Fuller on Sunday, when in man coverage.

    Gilmore will take Hopkins.

  3. It’s the closest thing I have ever seen to a meritocracy. It’s brutal, but the players that survive the process sure are winners. Imagine trading Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins and then winning another Super Bowl anyway. It’s really all about what a player is able to do at that moment or in the future. What ever they have done in the past is not even considered.

  4. barsfordays says:
    September 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm
    Eric Rowe was actually a decent corner when he was with Philly. Still have no idea why we gave up on him, still seems like a Howie Roseman power trip, but with Jalen Mills playing really solid, Darby coming back soon and a nice debut from Rasul Douglas we aren’t in terrible shape at corner. Sidney Jones next year too.

    0 0 Rate This

    ————

    Rowe played well for the Pats last year and has been doing well this year so far. Got dinged up with a groin or leg injury on Sunday, though.

    Butler will be playing more on the outside this week.

  5. youngnoizecom says:
    September 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm
    Honestly, think it’s an easy way for the Patriots to drive Malcolm Butler’s market value down. Much better cornerback than Eric Rowe

    0 1 Rate This

    ———-

    has absolutely nothing to do with it

  6. This may be a message to Butler – but then again maybe the guy just isn’t 100% right now or it had something to do with Pats’ varied week-to-week game planning. He had a little hip trouble end of last year. Maybe if you addressed his underlying health/fitness (or lack thereof) we’d have a better idea of whther something else is going on.

  7. I never bought the hype on Malcolm Butler. He played well in a good zone scheme with good safeties and a coaching staff that outsmarted other teams, but his individual talent level is nothing special. He’s the equivalent of a system QB and is replaceable.

  8. Don’t forget, if Rowe plays more than 50% of the snaps, they owe Philly a 3rd instead of a 4th. Probably more important to the Pats than Butler’s market value. I also disagree that Butler’s reduced playing time is a result of matchups w/NO’S big WRs. Butler played 98% of the def snaps the last 2 yrs.

  9. Or maybe the kid was showing his displeasure at not getting the trade which he hoped would pay him handsomely.

    Do your job or you’ll be gone. That is how it goes at the pro level.

  10. I still get all warm and tingly when I think if the look on Richard Sherman’s face as Butler ripped the Seahawks’ collective hearts out at the goal line!

  11. bullcharger says:
    September 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm
    It’s the closest thing I have ever seen to a meritocracy. It’s brutal, but the players that survive the process sure are winners. Imagine trading Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins and then winning another Super Bowl anyway. It’s really all about what a player is able to do at that moment or in the future. What ever they have done in the past is not even considered.

    29 2 Rate This

    ————–

    Correct. But, if you truly love the game and eat, breathe and sleep it, there is no better place to get an NFL education.

    No better place.

  12. tedmurph says:
    September 19, 2017 at 2:24 pm
    Don’t forget, if Rowe plays more than 50% of the snaps, they owe Philly a 3rd instead of a 4th. Probably more important to the Pats than Butler’s market value. I also disagree that Butler’s reduced playing time is a result of matchups w/NO’S big WRs. Butler played 98% of the def snaps the last 2 yrs.

    9 1 Rate This

    ———–

    Umm, with help from McCourty over the top.

    With a size match up like with a Rowe type or now a Gilmore, you don’t necessarily have to shade McCourty or Harmon to one side.

    Try to keep up, Ted.

  13. The whole reason BB threw money at Gilmore and not Butler is because Gilmore is a bigger player who can be left alone in man coverage, while Butler cannot, at least over a sustained period of time (in games or week to week).

    So, it has EVERY bit to do with size match ups last week, Ted Murph. Besides, slot CB or the STAR position, is a very important role in today’s game. Butler should not look at it as a slight either.

  14. Malcolm Butler never came off the field the last 2 yrs. Logan Ryan took a lot of the big WRs with help over the top. Butler only played 75% of the snaps last week week because of mediocre play and possibly an attitude problem. If only some posters knew as much as they think they do.

  15. Like when they were all set on DE after losing Ninkovitch, Long and Sheard. Then they go out and trade for CMarsh, throm him out there against KC after practices and get destroyed on the edge. Try to keep up? What a joke.

  16. tedmurph says:
    September 19, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    Malcolm Butler never came off the field the last 2 yrs. Logan Ryan took a lot of the big WRs with help over the top. Butler only played 75% of the snaps last week week because of mediocre play and possibly an attitude problem. If only some posters knew as much as they think they do.

    ————-

    I’m not so sure… Belichick does sometimes like to see what the team looks like without a player he is thinking of trading. There was an injury or he might have played even less. He did that with Collins.

  17. This is the media trying to create an issue where there likely is none. Many teams, including the Pats, design their schemes on a combination of what skill sets their players have and how they match up against the week’s opponent. If MB plays to his capability, without attitude, he’ll get paid, whether in NE or elsewhere. He has to be cognizant of the fact that receivers are getting bigger and that he’s going to have to make up for that with good technique and speed.

  18. Butler never gets the level of credit and accolades he should for what he did in SB49 (read the play perfectly, made the interception and WON the game). Can you imagine if Revis had made that interception and how over-the-top the sports world would have been????

  19. tedmurph says:
    September 19, 2017 at 3:17 pm
    Like when they were all set on DE after losing Ninkovitch, Long and Sheard. Then they go out and trade for CMarsh, throm him out there against KC after practices and get destroyed on the edge. Try to keep up? What a joke.

    1 0 Rate This

    ————-

    Excuse me? $100 Cassius Marsh will be an upgrade on 3rds over Chris Long, throughout the season. Long was good, but he was better in the postseason than regular season overall.

    Patricia had no business having Marsh in man out of the backfield.

    If McClellin wasn’t concussed, he would have been out there in dime in that role.

    Yes, try to keep up, Ted Murph. Believe it or not, people older than you, sometimes know more about things, and don’t rely on moron media analysis or fantasy football for their own analysis.

  20. tedmurph says:
    September 19, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    Malcolm Butler never came off the field the last 2 yrs. Logan Ryan took a lot of the big WRs with help over the top. Butler only played 75% of the snaps last week week because of mediocre play and possibly an attitude problem. If only some posters knew as much as they think they do.

    7 3 Rate This

    ———

    Umm, that’s because he was the best CB the Pats had. Like I said, this isn’t rocket science.

    Butler would take on the other team’s #1, with help over the top. Yes.

    He’s not a pure shut down CB.

  21. Yeah, and Rowe was on Julio Jones in SB 51 by accident, it wasn’t because Rowe is taller than Butler or anything like that.

    lol

    All hail the wise Ted Murph for his legendary analysis, teaching us how BB likes to scheme.

  22. McClellin doesn’t play the edge. What happened to KEaly? Remember when somebody thought LGuy was an edge guy. Has there anyone that’s been more consistantly wron?. The droolboy of Pats threads.They shouda traded Butler in the offseason. But, the Pats NEVER had Butler off the field the last 2 yrs. They matched him with big receivers frequently. Last week they did. FACTS. If JJones continues to look good, maybe they will trade him, but his value is much lower now.

  23. September 19, 2017 at 4:10 pm
    McClellin doesn’t play the edge. What happened to KEaly? Remember when somebody thought LGuy was an edge guy. Has there anyone that’s been more consistantly wron?. The droolboy of Pats threads.They shouda traded Butler in the offseason. But, the Pats NEVER had Butler off the field the last 2 yrs. They matched him with big receivers frequently. Last week they did. FACTS. If JJones continues to look good, maybe they will trade him, but his value is much lower now.

    0 0 Rate This

    ————

    Umm, McClellin plays EVERYWHERE, but BB has used him as a chess piece very effectively, mainly up and around the line of scrimmage as a swiss amry knife, a la Roman Phifer back in the day.

    Ealy is apparently a lazy, all but done kid who doesn’t want to be in the NFL and is a pure 4-3 DE, who apparently just wants sacks, so that was not a good fit. He’ll look terrible on tape with a terrible Jets D and then be a FA, where he won’t see what he wants, and will likely fade out of the league.

    As for McClellin, Chicago could never figure out how to use skills, but he’s hands down our fastest and most athletic LB, who has 3-4 MLB experience, 3-4 OLB experience and 4-3 DE experience, in his early mis-used years in Chicago.

    Not his fault he was drafted way too high and mis-used by awful Chicago’s management.

    PS Lawrence Guy was good again on Sunday and yes, also has 3-4 DE and 4-3 DT experience from his days in Baltimore mostly.

    He was ranked highly last year in particular which explains his 4 year deal from BB:

    “Lawrence Guy. A five-year veteran, Guy had stints with the Colts and Chargers before coming to Baltimore. He has 5.5 of his 6.5 career sacks since signing with the Ravens. Despite only registering a single sack, Guy brought consistent pressure with a 4.24 average yards to the quarterback on pass rush attempts. He only played 47 percent of the defensive snaps, so he’s a rotational player, but his value to the team appears clear.”

    Once Hightower, Valentine and McClellin get back, the D will get a nice big boost.

    Bye bye, Ted. Bye bye.

  24. I posted McClellin or Guy were nots edge guy and Ealy was not a replacement for either Ninkovich, or the combo of Sheard and Long on the other side. 4 for 4. 0-4 for Mr Football. Also there’s no guarantee Hightower comes back anytime soon. Going to see Dr Andrews is never a good sign.

  25. tedmurph says:
    September 19, 2017 at 4:42 pm
    I posted McClellin or Guy were nots edge guy and Ealy was not a replacement for either Ninkovich, or the combo of Sheard and Long on the other side. 4 for 4. 0-4 for Mr Football. Also there’s no guarantee Hightower comes back anytime soon. Going to see Dr Andrews is never a good sign.

    2 2 Rate This

    ———–

    Great. Now I have a troll board buddy who is a bit insecure with his analysis and needs to get the last word, unaware he’s been out-debated on a topic.

    I’ve never, ever said Ealy was meant to replace Nink. His name is Trey Flowers. Heck, I even seen BB using Flowers at OLB in the 3-4 set on Sunday, something Nink was doing back in 2010 for this team.

    Ealy didn’t work because BB sniffed out his resistance to probably being asked to play some 3-4 in space at OLB, which means less sacks.

    Get it? Hence, why Ealy is gone.

    3-4 is not easy to play, in particular in NE, with how BB runs it. Denver runs a dumbed down version of it, as does Baltimore.

    BB uses it more within a team concept with zone D being vital in conjunction with how the front 7 rushes the passer and how the LBs and DBs cover as one unit.

    Hightower may be better back at MLB, yes, but he’ll be back very soon and could have played last week. He already went to Andrews and Andrews said all was well. Again, try to keep up.

    I’ll go one further……IMO, Langi is better 3-4 MLB fit than he is a n edge guy in the 4-3 or 3-4. I had this analysis just by watching him in preseason and then I found a scout saying the same thing, so I figured my analysis was accurate there.

    Langi has good speeed like McClellin, so they could also use him like they were using McClellin last year, when McClellin comes back.

    BB mixes and matches scheme and personnel usage more than any coach in the league, Teddy.

  26. (funny that 2 people can go back and forth like fish wives but no one else other than a troll can post to this thread. Is the idea to moderate the saner folks off the site?)

    tylawspick6 says:
    September 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    All hail the wise Ted Murph for his legendary analysis, teaching us how BB likes to scheme.
    ______________________

    You are in no position to question anyone else’s football acumen. You make more erroneous posts per day than most people do in a lifetime.

  27. Excuses and… Everybody has one. There has been NO word on Andrews opinion on Hightower. He didn’t practice last week, didn’t practice and had no chance of playing. People can make up anything they want on a blog.Some people have a pathological problem admitting they’re wrong. Flowers plays RDE. Nickovich played on the left(SAM). That’s where Ealy played in the preseason. Langi, an UFA playing STs is the new it guy? Lol.

  28. commentawaitingdeletion says:
    September 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm
    (funny that 2 people can go back and forth like fish wives but no one else other than a troll can post to this thread. Is the idea to moderate the saner folks off the site?)

    tylawspick6 says:
    September 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    All hail the wise Ted Murph for his legendary analysis, teaching us how BB likes to scheme.
    ______________________

    You are in no position to question anyone else’s football acumen. You make more erroneous posts per day than most people do in a lifetime.

    0 1 Rate This

    —-

    example?

    some of you millennials are so insecure

  29. tedmurph says:
    September 19, 2017 at 5:11 pm
    Excuses and… Everybody has one. There has been NO word on Andrews opinion on Hightower. He didn’t practice last week, didn’t practice and had no chance of playing. People can make up anything they want on a blog.Some people have a pathological problem admitting they’re wrong. Flowers plays RDE. Nickovich played on the left(SAM). That’s where Ealy played in the preseason. Langi, an UFA playing STs is the new it guy? Lol.

    3 1 Rate This

    ——
    nope, nope and nope

    nink was a strong side de in the 4-3 base since 2011

    bb moves flowers to dt and to de

    nink never, ever played dt

    tell me again how lawrence guy does not play the edge at 3-4 de

    tell me again, teddy

    lol

  30. bullcharger says:
    September 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm
    It’s the closest thing I have ever seen to a meritocracy. It’s brutal, but the players that survive the process sure are winners. Imagine trading Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins and then winning another Super Bowl anyway. It’s really all about what a player is able to do at that moment or in the future. What ever they have done in the past is not even considered.
    ——
    Very true. One on one, you’d never take Kyle Van Noy over Jamie Collins, but it’s a team game, and Kyle Van Noy knows how to perform his assignment. So exit Jamie Collins, and the Lombardi still goes to New England

  31. With whatever combination of players, through new acquisitions, or trades, or surprise cuts, they’ll be there at the end.

  32. commentawaitingdeletion says:
    September 19, 2017 at 5:18 pm
    tylawspick6 says:
    September 19, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    some of you millennials are so insecure
    ________________

    My grandkids are millennials little guy

    1 0 Rate This

    —–

    well, that explains a lot

    still waiting for those examples, gramps

  33. walker1191 says:
    September 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm
    With whatever combination of players, through new acquisitions, or trades, or surprise cuts, they’ll be there at the end.

    1 0 Rate This

    ——

    and that is what drives trolls and some of our own pats fans who
    don’t understand how bb wants it, absolutely berserk.

  34. What’s the record for “journalists” being correct about what Belichick’s next move is going to be?

    Did any of them predict Lawyer Milloy?
    What about Richard Seymour?
    How about Logan Mankins?
    Chandler Jones?
    Jamie Collins?

    Now we’re buying into Butler being on the trading block because the media suddenly knows what they’re talking about?

  35. I don’t think it’s Eric Rowe who you need to be concerned about when trying to decide if Butler is on his way out via trade (it was likely he wasn’t returning next year anyway just because of contract reasons).

    Rowe seems to have proven he is at least capable… but it’s making sure that reliable depth is in place with Brandon King and Jonathan Jones that would be important before sending Butler packing. Given that he’d only be a 27 year old “rental” for any other team at this point, I’m not sure the Patriots would be able to get a DB up to the task in return.

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