While many believe New England Patriots Malcolm Butler is on the way out after discrepancies with contracts and performance, he may be on the rise once more.
After losing his starting role to Eric Rowe in a matchup against the Saints and wide receiver Brandon Coleman, Butler stepped it up against the Houston Texans in Week 3. He was on Texans receivers like white on rice in his best performance of the year. Butler played every defensive snap and only allowed 10 yards on both throws made his way. He allowed zero yards after catch (YAC) on both those plays, stopping DeAndre Hopkins short of the first down on each play.
“I thought Malcolm played really well,” Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said in a press conference call. Patricia followed that up by saying that the entire defense played poorly as a whole.
Butler has been a full-time starter since the beginning of the 2015 season and is notorious for his super bowl saving interception. However, following his poor performance in the week one matchup against the Kansas City chiefs, Butler was demoted to nickel cornerback. “I think I just let loose a little bit,” Butler said after the game. Obviously, there is still some frustration between both sides but, Butlers’ frustration with his performance and the organization resulted in his best performance of this year.
The old saying goes all is fair in love and war, and right now the only war is the mental battle Butler is having with himself. Confidence is a major part of all things life and he has been critical of his own play recently.
“I think confidence goes a long way,” Belichick said. “We all do things in our normal lives – things that we’re confident in, we do more aggressively, we do quicker, we do with probably better overall execution than things we’re not confident in, where we maybe have to wait and have that little bit of hesitation to make sure something’s right or make sure you’re doing the right thing.”
Overconfidence will cause people to take things for granted and its probable that while Butler’s 2016 performance was impeccable, the drama surrounding the offseason and preseason performance could have led to insurmountable amounts of self-doubt and stress.
If Butler can keep up his Week 3 performance then the Patriots secondary can live up to the hype of being the best secondary in the league, and allow Patricia to concentrate his efforts to improving and constructing a demonic front seven.