Malcolm Butler won’t be demoted ahead of Patriots game

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One of the storylines for this weekend’s game between the Patriots and the Titans will be cornerback Malcolm Butler facing the Patriots for the first time since leaving for Tennessee as a free agent.

Butler didn’t play at all on defense in his last game with the Patriots and thoughts of his Super Bowl benching were hard to avoid during Titans coach Mike Vrabel‘s press conference on Tuesday. Butler has struggled this season and got beaten badly by Amari Cooper and Allen Hurns for touchdowns on Monday night, which meant Vrabel was fielding questions about whether Butler would be pulled from the lineup.

Vrabel said that he would not be demoting Butler, saying that Butler has issues with his technique that have to be corrected and that the team will work to make that happen.

“When you play man coverage, you have to look at your man,” Vrabel said, via Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com. “Malcolm knows that and we talk about that, continue to practice it, continue to coach it and try to show it to him. When he does that, it’s pretty good. It’s competitive, he challenges the receivers. When you look back at the quarterback, your man has a tendency to move in another direction.”

Among the questions Vrabel was asked was whether LeShaun Sims deserved a look at corner in place of Butler. Vrabel said he didn’t think that was the case because “he’s not as good as Malcolm” in the way he practices.

54 responses to “Malcolm Butler won’t be demoted ahead of Patriots game

  1. Is it just me, or does Mike Vrabel’s body language and facial expressions during games say “why did I take this job?” He just doesn’t look like a guy who’s glad to be a head coach in the NFL.

  2. Sign an expensive free agent and play him against his strengths (Titans, Butler)

    or

    Sign an inexpensive free agent and find creative ways to make him more effective than ever (Patriots, Patterson).

    AKA, checkers or chess.

  3. TruthfulDolphinsFanNotWearingBlinders says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Still unbelievable that Butler was benched for the SB, NO way the Eagles would have won had he played.
    ————————————————————————————-
    You don’t seem to read and process information very well.

    This article is about Butler playing poorly again and his coach being asked if he will be benched, which is exactly what happened last year.

  4. Butler is a good athlete and a very good football player.

    Obviously the reason the Patriots decided to move on was Butler’s need for/acceptance of an excessive amount of coaching, which diminished his value and cost the Titans a lot more than he’s worth.

    He will always be a sports icon in New England, and I’m sure every Patriots fan wishes him well. Just not this Sunday.

  5. Butler was really good the first few years, but took a mental dive when he didn’t get the contract extension he wanted and the Pats signed Gilmore for the big dollars. I don’t think mentally he’s ever gotten back to where he needs to be.

    Gilmore on the other hand now that he knows the Pats D and has settled in has allowed opposing QBs only a 55.5 QBR or something like that so far this season.

    I feel for Malcolm though. Great guy, never does anything bad off the field, works hard.

  6. I thought the Cooper TD was just a tough play for any cover corner in man-to-man, unless you hold. Hurns, OTOH, did make Butler look bad on a double move.

    Still, he is on a very short list of having made one of the great defensive plays in Super Bowl history, and he made his money. Good for Butler.

  7. .
    The Patriots have made a living out of finding mismatches and exploiting them. If Butler is playing poorly, they’ll attack him mercilessly.

    The Patriots have a lot riding on this game going into their bye week. Belichick is very generous with time off when the team is playing well. A loss at Tennessee would have him revert to his “no days off” mode.
    .

  8. TruthfulDolphinsFanNotWearingBlinders says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm
    Still unbelievable that Butler was benched for the SB, NO way the Eagles would have won had he played.

    ———————-
    Its quite arguable they would have lost by more had he played.

  9. The defining play of his career and the superbowl winning moment was provided by him looking at the quarterback and not his man,
    —————————–
    Not so. the greatest single play in football history was provided by his coach repeatedly drilling him (along with every other defensive back) on that exact goal line play until he got it right. He knew exactly what was coming and so did the other corner who did his job and jammed the pick man. It was a great call by Seattle if not for Belichick putting the pressure on by not calling time out and leaving nothing to chance in his preparation. That’s why he is the Greatest coach in sports history.

  10. For what its worth, Brady wont be trying to light him up or anything. Any such storylines are nonsense. Brady wont care who is who on the field. He will look at whats before him and if he sees a weakness he will go there, otherwise he will look elsewhere for the best opportunity to exploit. Its just business with no drama.

  11. But you don’t understand! This is THE Malcolm Butler! The man who solely by himself would have stopped Nick Foles from carving up that defense in the Super Bowl! If he would have just played that game there’s no way Pederson or Reich would have adjusted at all and called any successful plays!

    After all, he did intercept that bad pass in the end zone from Russell Wilson that one time! He’s the best ever!

  12. magnumpimustache says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm
    I would love to See Josh Gordon vs Malcolm Butler
    ——–

    You and every Gordon fantasy owner.

  13. xmatt0926x says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    But you don’t understand! This is THE Malcolm Butler! The man who solely by himself would have stopped Nick Foles from carving up that defense in the Super Bowl! If he would have just played that game there’s no way Pederson or Reich would have adjusted at all and called any successful plays!

    After all, he did intercept that bad pass in the end zone from Russell Wilson that one time! He’s the best ever!

    ————

    No one is suggesting that Butler would have kept Foles from lighting up the Patriots. But a 3rd or 4th down tackle that every single other piece of trash Belichick stubbornly rolled out whiffed on, over and over? Yeah. I think Butler is good for one or two of those.

    Maybe it doesn’t win the game, but you could literally not do worse than what Bill insisted on putting on the field.

  14. The Pats let him go for the same reason he was undrafted. He does not the catch up speed to gamble in the NFL on routes and frequently gets burned by faster WRs when he takes that extra second to guess or wait for the QB to throw. That’s why Belichick benched him in the playoffs (against the Titans, ironically) before the Superbowl. In order to compensate for his lack of closing speed, Butler plays a lot of physical coverage at the line and frequently does so down the field. That’s why he gets called so often for pass interference and holding.

    Butler’s strengths in his tackling and in press man coverage, but his team has devote an extra safety over the top to compensate for bad coverage skills on deep routes. It’s not helpful, especially when you don’t have a clear number one corner to free that safety up for you.

  15. ibillwt says:
    the greatest single play in football history was provided by his coach repeatedly drilling him (along with every other defensive back) on that exact goal line play until he got it right. He knew exactly what was coming and so did the other corner who did his job and jammed the pick man. It was a great call by Seattle if not for Belichick putting the pressure on by not calling time out and leaving nothing to chance in his preparation. That’s why he is the Greatest coach in sports history.
    ===

    Thanks for the laugh.
    I don’t care if BB and MB worked on that play every day for a year. Breaking down film and practicing against another team’s tendencies in a given area is what ALL coaches do.
    The pass was picked because Russell Wilson through a quick slant — which should be thrown low and in front of the receiver, where only he can get it — high and behind his receiver, which made it easy pickings for a guy who was prepared for it.
    Also, there have been other equally significant plays in Super Bowl history, including single-play finishes to the Rams-Titans and Ravens-49ers Super Bowls.
    Please, save you fanboy histrionics for people who don’t know any better.

  16. Malcolm “Toast” Butler. Watching him get embarrassed last night, he should be on special teams or “break glass in case of emergency” status only.

  17. walllamp947460497 says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm
    Belichick has STILL not provided an explanation for the benching and losing the Superbowl. Man up Bill and say you behaved like a emotional teenage girl.

    —————————-

    Love it when people project!

  18. Dregon, Ball was not thrown behind. It was a spectacular play and MB cut in front of the receiver;)

    Great play. Great man. Might have made one of the 3rd down tackles against lame Eagles.

  19. Butler was bad his 2nd to last season in NE. And he was terrible his last season there. I had zero problem with him not playing in the Super Bowl, and zero problem with the Pats letting him go. He is looks like he is getting worse. Good luck with that contract

  20. ‘The pass was picked because Russell Wilson through a quick slant — which should be thrown low and in front of the receiver, where only he can get it — high and behind his receiver, which made it easy pickings for a guy who was prepared for it.
    Also, there have been other equally significant plays in Super Bowl history, including single-play finishes to the Rams-Titans and Ravens-49ers Super Bowls.
    Please, save you fanboy histrionics for people who don’t know any better.’

    OK, so I understand you’re not a Patriots fan (if not a flat out hater), but….did you watch the play? First of all, it wasn’t a bad pass. The receiver was not nearly as aggressive as the play called for. There’s no way you let that defender get to that ball, even if you have to maul him. And as far as other SB plays being equally significant, I just don’t see it.

  21. He wasn’t playing well last year and it has carried over. In 2016 he played like a man on a mission but in 2017 there was a big drop-off. That is the reason he didn’t play in the SB, he wasn’t as good as his replacement and he missed a practice or two before the game with an illness. Do I think he should have been allowed to play to see if he could have done better, yes I do, but I am not a football coach and don’t act like one on football blogs. Butler has lots of trouble against tall WR and the Eagles WR’s Mathews and Jeffery are both 6′ 3″. Allen Hurns is also 6′ 3″ and Cooper is 6′ 1″ so I’m not surprised he had trouble with them.

  22. TruthfulDolphinsFanNotWearingBlinders says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm
    Still unbelievable that Butler was benched for the SB, NO way the Eagles would have won had he played.

    56 191 Rate Thi

    ——-

    laughable

    he was horrible down the stretch, had the flu
    and
    them cried

  23. Malcolm Butler is a NE Patriots legend and will always be remembered for the great plays he made in the Superbowl against the Seahawks.

    To the “fans” on this site show some damn respect.

  24. Tone deaf Harry says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm
    TruthfulDolphinsFanNotWearingBlinders says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm
    Still unbelievable that Butler was benched for the SB, NO way the Eagles would have won had he played.

    ———————-
    Its quite arguable they would have lost by more had he played.

    ________
    Anything is arguable. What was inarguable was the Patriots strategy appeared to be every man not for himself or the team. For whatever reason or lack of reason it was clear to everybody Belichick had taken himself out of the game, but no one else was to intercede. It was four uninterrupted quarters of insanity in a very emotional game.

    The game had progressed to a point calling for desperate measures, and no one, including Patricia, dared to countermand whatever orders had been handed down to him. Belichick never explained his bizarre behavior that day. Neither did Patricia. Kraft went mum. Brady went dumb. They were all complicit in their silence. The air was as thick as the North End Streets during the Great Molasses Flood. Sorry, Malcolm. Loose lips sink ships.

  25. Thanks for the laugh.
    I don’t care if BB and MB worked on that play every day for a year. Breaking down film and practicing against another team’s tendencies in a given area is what ALL coaches do

    Yes, but not nearly to the degree the Patriots do.

    They knew exactly what was about to happen. And no (for all the lazy excuse makers out there) – the Pats didn’t “cheat”. They simply prepare better than most.

    Bevell blew it there – it became obvious to BB and company it was about to happen with the package they presented with. Really not Wilson’s fault. Lockette didn’t get after it as he should have and got blown up. Great play by Butler with an assist from Browner. They’d practiced it all week and it worked at the most critical moment.

    I think running it in with Lynch was a 50/50 bet, but still would have been the right call.

  26. Butler got lit up all year last year. He can’t elevate. They just threw over his head. Now he’s trying to compensate by peeking in the backfield. So he gets beat on routes as well. He is a slot corner, needs to play smaller guys where his quickness competes and stop trying to hit the big play and just do his job well. Stop pretending he would have won the SB. Gilmore and Rowe were still better against the taller Eagles receivers than Butler would have been, and this year with the Titans PROVES it.

  27. TruthfulDolphinsFanNotWearingBlinders says:
    November 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm
    Still unbelievable that Butler was benched for the SB, NO way the Eagles would have won had he played.
    ——–

    He was horrible last season as well, yet so many patriot fans claim the pats would have won if butler had played.

  28. Legend is very extreme for a player that has dropped off dramatically since making that int.Look at his stats since then…BB has never been a “what you have done” type of coach/GM.Ask all the real legends of Patriots football that he has let walk during his tenure.Do we appreciate what butler did?Of course.But don’t forget he was also the reason they were in scoring position to begin with.The real butler is what people are seeing now…stats speak louder than one play.He is not worth what he thought that play made him think he was.

  29. Maybe he should be benched. Maybe not. But the media sure like to stir it up don’t they? It’s almost as though they think he should be benched and are trying to convince the coach to that effect. I hate the media sometimes.

  30. Maybe the Pats will get Butler back cheap if he is cut. He got a big head after the Super Bowl heroics and wanted big money then went downhill. He will be more humble and play better when he returns to the Pats.

  31. Butler legendary play in the SB made people vastly overrate his ability.

    He was a UDFA who worked his butt off to simply get on a team – and for awhile, he was able to bottle lightning.

    A genuinely good guy who got paid – I hope he can turn it around, right after this weekend.

    I also think he should have been tried in the SB – simply because the guys that were put out there couldn’t have played any worse.

    And finally, fair play to the Eagles who played an outstanding game on the biggest day of the year.

  32. To cheaters? Busted multiple times for cheating in multiple seasons resulting in lost draft picks. I got your respect hanging low. Scum of the NFL. Only team that are bigger cheaters are the Saints and that Corrupt POS Ref Pete Morelli.

    brady2gronktd says:
    November 6, 2018 at 8:14 pm
    Malcolm Butler is a NE Patriots legend and will always be remembered for the great plays he made in the Superbowl against the Seahawks.

    To the “fans” on this site show some damn respect.

  33. brady2gronktd says:
    November 6, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Malcolm Butler is a NE Patriots legend and will always be remembered for the great plays he made in the Superbowl against the Seahawks.

    To the “fans” on this site show some damn respect.
    ————————————————————————————
    Butler is a NE sports hero, and the Patriots don’t win the 2014 SB without him. But playing well in that game 4 years ago does not guarantee you lifetime employment and a starting job in 2018, if it did Chris Matthews would still be catching passes in the NFL.

  34. Butler was benched because he sucked. Butler gave up both TD’s against the Titans in the playoffs last year Belicheat doesn’t owe anyone an explanation and no reason to kick Butler while he’s down.

  35. Welcome to the last refuge of the weak minded and blissfully ignorant.
    ____________________________________
    vikesfansteve says:
    November 7, 2018 at 7:20 am
    To cheaters? Busted multiple times for cheating in multiple seasons resulting in lost draft picks. I got your respect hanging low. Scum of the NFL. Only team that are bigger cheaters are the Saints and that Corrupt POS Ref Pete Morelli.

  36. “Busted multiple times for cheating “??? No, busted because a camera was 30 feet out of position in front of 70,000 fans and because the NFL didn’t understand cold weather causes footballs to lose pressure ( and apparently neither do you)!

  37. “The defining play of his career and the superbowl winning moment was provided by him looking at the quarterback and not his man, so it’s not surprising that’s still his tendency even when not in a zone coverage.”

    Absolutely NOT. Malcomb saw the pick play developing, his guy cutting under the pick to the inside, he reacted and only then did he look to the quarterback and make that spectacular catch… just as he was taught.

  38. Butler was effective until people realized he’s short and may have lost some lateral quickness. Now they all run out routes and throw over his head all day long. It’s why he was traded, and why he is picked on in every game and is ranked in the 80s among NFL CBs. In short they figured him out, and it’s not that surprising that one of the first to do it was Belichick.

  39. Did it occur to you that Belichick didn’t provide the specific reason for benching Butler because it would have required throwing Malcolm under the bus for his sometimes very poor play that season ? Ironically, it might have been his respect for Malcolm as a person that prevented him from explaining his benching.

    Did Belichick explain why he benched Malcolm for Rowe in Game 2 of the regular season against the Saints?

    More recently, in the AFCCG Malcolm had some very bad plays against the Jaguars both physically and mentally. On one play, he played Man instead of Zone, leaving his deep side of the field wide open – the Jags short pass turned into a HUGE pass play.

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