Patriots gridiron news: Patricia lauds Malcolm Butler’s Week 3 performance

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcolm Butler
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcolm Butler /

Is New England Patriots star cornerback Malcolm Butler working his way back into the good graces of his coaches? 

At least for this week, the answer appears to be yes.  While the New England Patriots defense struggled overall in the team’s thrilling 36-33 victory over the Houston Texans, Malcolm Butler’s aggressive play stood out.

A week after seeing his role reduced, Butler recognized he needed to return to the player his coaching staff and teammates have relied on.  It was just one game, but with the way Butler played, it appears his hard work has put him back in the good graces of Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

In a conference call with the media on Wednesday, Patricia took some time to address and applaud the play of Malcolm Butler.

"“I thought Malcolm played really well,” Patricia said, as transcribed by The Boston Herald.  “Wecertainly didn’t play great at all as a defense.  I’m not saying that, but I think the guys really tried to go out and play extremely hard.  This is a very competitive guy.  Malcolm steps up to the challenges that he plays in front of him, goes out and competes, he works hard, he tries to do it the right way, and he really tries to get better every week.  And so, look, we had a productive week last week for him and working through, but it’s a new week, and we’re going to try to get the same consistency every single week, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”"

Patricia went on to say that Butler went out and did what the coaches asked him to do, which has always been a reason why he has earned the label of one of the hardest working players on the team.

PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 23: Malcolm Butler
PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 23: Malcolm Butler /

Although his focus most likely has been tainted due to stalled contract discussions and trade rumors, it is nice to see Butler turning back into that hard-working player we’ve become accustomed to.

With the defense struggling and Stephon Gilmore still finding his way, this team needs a focused Malcolm Butler on the defensive side of the ball.  When they get that on a consistent basis, I’m willing to bet this defense will begin to turn things around.

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Injury report

As of Wednesday’s, practice, tight end Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and Elandon Roberts have all been removed from the injury report.  This is great news for offense as both Gronkowski and Hogan played key roles in the team’s36-33 victory over the Texans in Week 3.

On the flip side of that, running back Rex Burkhead continues his absence from the practice field.  He missed last Sunday’s game due to a rib injury.

Notable players limited on Wednesday included Danny Amendola, Marcus Cannon, Phillip Dorsett, Stephon Gilmore, Dont’a Hightower and Eric Rowe. 

NFL power rankings

ESPN’s Week 4 NFL power rankings has the New England Patriots moving up to the No. 3 spot following the victory over the Texans.

Next: New England Patriots: 5 defensive playmakers to watch in 2017

Despite the team having their hands full with rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, Tom Brady’s high-level play is a reason the team moved up.  They still trail the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs who hold the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.