FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler had one of his weakest games of the season last month against the New York Jets, when he allowed six catches on six targets for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
So, it would be shocking if Butler wasn’t a little extra motivated to shut down Brandon Marshall, Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson in this week’s rematch against the Jets.
“Very competitive. Malcolm’s really competitive. It really bothers him when a guy catches a ball on him, and that’s the kind of attitude you want to have from a defensive back,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Thursday. “When they do catch it, they want to make a real hard tackle and kind of make the guy pay for those yards that he got. Malcolm’s a good tackler. Really he’s a tough kid.
“I think that competiveness and then when you match him up with another real competitive guy, like a Steve Smith, for example, a guy like that, you get a war. But I love Malcolm’s competitiveness. I love the way he competes and not just for the ball in the passing game, but the tackle to kind of hit the other guy harder than the other guy hits him, that kind of aggressiveness.”
Butler gave up two catches for 14 yards with a touchdown to Marshall and two catches for 62 yards and a touchdown to Enunwa. He also gave up a 25-yard catch to Anderson, but he forced and recovered a fumble on the play.
Enunwa is a difficult matchup for any cornerback given his size and speed combination. He’s 6-foot-2, 225 pounds and ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. The Patriots don’t have a defensive back with his overall size, so Butler will have to do his best to stay with the big wideout down the field.
“He’s a tough matchup guy,” Belichick said about Enunwa. “They use him as a receiver but I think where his value really comes in for him is he can block and he can do some things that a tight end can do. …
“It’s definitely a problem because he’s not a tight end. He is a receiver. He’s not a tight end, but he is a tight end. You definitely don’t want to get mismatched on him in the passing game and end up with a linebacker on him or something like that when he’s not a tight end. He’s definitely not that. …
“There are not a lot of guys like him. There are some undersized tight ends but they don’t have the passing game skill. This guy can make plays 40 yards down the field as a receiver, not as a tight end. He can do them on the corners. We saw him do it. Yeah, he’s a tough matchup. He’s a unique guy.”
The Patriots’ cornerbacks have been sticking to sides recently, so Butler likely will get a rematch against Enunwa, Marshall and Anderson. Expect him to improve upon last month’s performance.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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