Patriots Training Camp Report: Look For Butler to Bounce Back
Having his worst day of camp is a good jolt of reality for the 2nd year corner
The Patriots conducted their first day of two joint practices with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday and it wasn’t the best day for Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. The left cornerback entering his second season has been stellar all summer long but got picked on by the Saints throughout the session.
Butler is hardly the first corner to be picked on and apart by Saints QB Drew Brees, and he will be far from the last, but after being the Patriots best player thru the first three weeks of training camp it was the first time Butler has struggled this season.
Butler was targeted on 6 plays during 11-on-11 and gave up completions on four of them. He was flagged for pass interference on one play, was beaten on a deep pattern by Joseph Morgan for 40 yards and on the next play for a touchdown by Josh Morgan.
It is the kind of day these training camp joint sessions were designed for. It gives players from each team the opportunity to see different players, different schemes and place them in difficult circumstances to give them all a chance to improve.
After practice Brees told the media that the Saints considered Butler a tough matchup. Via Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, Brees stated, “Obviously it’s just one day’s worth and basically what I saw on film last week when they played Green Bay, which was limited time. But he’s extremely talented and he plays with a lot of confidence,” Brees said.
“Obviously he made that big play; there’s no bigger play to make in the Super Bowl. So he seems like a guy who plays with a lot of confidence and has a lot of ability. He’s one of those guys, he is a tough matchup for us, but I feel like we have guys that it’s going to make them better going up against a guy like that.”
There will be days like these and Butler will learn from it, it is always better to get these type of performances out of the way in practice before the actual games start. Look for the corner to rebound on Thursday as the competitive juices flow a little harder.
Butler has had his technique down pat throughout the summer, as evidenced by this You Tube video below; he’s been able to mix in his athleticism and physicality well during camp.
On the subject of corners, Devin McCourty once again got work as both a corner and safety, showing off a bit of his versatility. The team moved Tarel Brown in the slot where he played well according to multiple reports.
With the abundance of safeties on the team, this is a great way to not only get McCourty his reps but also allow the coaches to really evaluate all of the safeties on the roster while going against Brees and the Saints.
Last week we wrote here that Chris Harper was coming along well in his development and we’d like to see him get some work with Tom Brady and the top unit of the offense. With no Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Aaron Dobson in attendance, Harper again made the most of his chance.
When the Saints blew their coverage, Brady connected with the rookie from Cal on what would have been a 40-yard touchdown pass. He’s still a longshot to make the roster but one has to like what he and Brandon Gibson have shown in their opportunities this summer. Gibson is looking more and more like a guy who’ll be on the 53 man roster.
We wrote yesterday about the mutual respect that coaches Bill Belichick and Sean Payton have for one another. Payton gets the soundbyte of the day with his comment on Belichick.
Asked if Belichick ever made him laugh, Payton quipped, “I think I have a good relationship with him; he makes me laugh when I watch him talk to you,” Payton said to the assembled media.
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Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Preseason 2015 Patriots Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Brandon Gibson Chris Harper Devin McCourty Jimmy Garoppolo Julian Edelman Malcolm Butler New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots Training Camp Photos Tarel Brown Tom Brady