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Devin McCourty: Malcolm Butler Aware He Would Not Start SB LII

Many were shocked when coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots relegated starting cornerback Malcolm Butler to a limited role during Super Bowl LII. However, Butler’s teammates were not surprised by the move, says one.

Safety Devin McCourty said the team knew Butler wasn’t going to start during the week leading up to the game. Adding that it was no secret to any of the players on the team.

The benching of Malcolm Butler was not a disciplinary issue, according to Belichick. However, it sparked speculation that Butler addressed through social media and McCourty said was disappointing to him.

McCourty understands why people are looking for answers since Butler had played almost every defensive snap during the regular season. McCourty said nothing came up during the week to indicate it was anything but a football decision.

Despite what McCourty said, one defensive starter for the Patriots said on Monday that he didn’t know Butler wouldn’t play. At least two players have said that they were not aware of the plan the coaches had to sit Butler.

Eric Rowe started in place of Butler. He since said that he was not aware he would start until the game was close to starting.


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However, Rowe said that it didn’t surprise him that he played over 70 defensive snaps during the game. Adding he was surprised by the lack of playing time Butler was given as he didn’t think it was planned.

During the Super Bowl, the defense for the Patriots struggled and in particular when they used the dime package, which is when they have six defensive backs on the field.

Initially the team played four safeties and two cornerbacks before halftime. They switched to three safeties and three cornerbacks, but Butler was still not amongst the group.

Butler was on the team’s injury report during the week before the Super Bowl with an undisclosed illness and was limited to just a single practice that week. He arrived a day later than the team to Minnesota for the Super Bowl, with the organization saying that was due to illness.

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