BOSTON (CBS) — Malcolm Butler is practicing like a man who intends to regain his starting cornerback role on Sunday. Perhaps a slightly reduced snap count is what he needed to truly understand how much better he needs to be playing.
The corner would be the first to admit that he hasn’t played up to his usual standards so far in 2017, and he said as much again when he spoke to reporters in Foxboro on Thursday. But he is also confident that he can practice his way back into the starting lineup and his usual workload, which is typically every single snap.
Butler played 75 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps (49 out of 65) against the Saints last Sunday in New Orleans – not a light workload, but a striking departure from his usual 100 percent. It prompted questions of whether the Patriots were phasing Butler out of the defense, or perhaps even thinking about trading him.
Based on Butler’s comments on Thursday, not only does he not expect to be shipped out of town, he expects to get back to the level of play that Patriots fans are used to seeing. The important thing is that he did not make excuses and realizes he can be better.