“I mean, if it was discipline, I don’t know if that is the best way to go about it,” Ninkovich said. “You need good players on the field to execute. Bill says it all the time, Bill will say it in interviews, ‘Coaches don’t win games, players do. Coaches lose games.’ At the end of the day, you have to have your best players on the field and you question if Malcolm not being on the field is the best option to win the football game. At the end of the day, it is what it is. That is what happened. It is in history now.”
Ninkovich noted the rest of New England’s defense probably was upset with the puzzling decision.
“I would be pretty angry, I guess, because everyone out there on that field is giving it everything they’ve got and you want the best players with you,” Ninkovich said.
“I don’t know at the end if it would have hurt, or even at halftime, you’re like, ‘Hey, we can’t stop them. Let’s change things up and move guys around. Let’s put Malcolm on somebody and move some people.’ It is what it is. The game is over with. This one definitely hurts and again, I just feel bad for the guys that played in that game because it is a hard fought game to get to and when you get there, it is really unfortunate to not win.”
Butler at first was silent about the benching before saying the Patriots “quit on him.”
Belichick, of course, stood by his decision Monday without giving any sufficient reason for sitting Butler while his defense was getting shredded.
The cornerback is set to be an unrestricted free agent and it’s almost a certainty he will find a new home for the 2018 season.
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