Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
After making one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history, Malcolm Butler is a much different player than he was at this time last year. As an undrafted rookie out of West Alabama, Butler was one of the least-talked about newcomers to the roster; now, he’s one of the most confident players on the team.
Butler didn’t just emerge out of nowhere. Sure, his name wasn’t exactly the most newsworthy until his game-winning interception in Super Bowl XLIX, but Butler had been working his way up the totem pole in New England all season.
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He was impressive in training camp, managing to stand out among a crowded secondary that included Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Butler appeared in only 11 regular season games as a rookie, but deflected seven passes in that limited action.
And then that unforgettable night in the Arizona desert happened, and Butler is now one of the front-runners to snag a starting role at cornerback this summer. And he is playing with clear confidence.
For example, WEEI’s Christopher Price noticed that Butler was one of the loudest players on the field yesterday:
"From this viewpoint, Butler has been very chatty throughout camp, more so than he was at this point last year. It’s unclear how much of that might be related to being adrenalized over being in pads or just the excitement of camp. But he’s been pretty talkative to this point on the calendar."
Butler wasn’t just talking, however. He played lights-out.
If we look at Butler’s excellent start to training camp and consider his chattiness at the same time, only one conclusion can be drawn: he is playing with great confidence.
And that is a very good thing. Maybe the majority of the Patriots’ fan base isn’t feeling very confident in their secondary after the losses of Revis and Browner, but at least the man who is tasked with replacing them is feeling good.
The Patriots might have themselves a true No. 1 corner after all. It’s early, but there’s reason to believe that a confident Butler will salvage the Patriots’ cornerback corps.