Notes from Patriots OTAs: Week 2


Notes from Patriots OTAs: Week 2

FOXBORO -- Thursday, the Patriots had their second OTA session open to media. Here's a little bit of what went on. The team started with stretching, per usual. Defense was in grey, offense in white. Absent from today's session: Myron Pryor, Daniel Fells, Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Jeremy Ebert, and Sebastian Vollmer. Ebert is still at Northwestern, awaiting his June 16 graduation. The rest could have shown up after media availability was over, but none of the other four were seen last Thursday, either. One guy I didn't see last week who was around this time: Tracy White. It was reported White has been recovering from hernia surgery and the team is treating the process cautiously. Today, he did some running on a side field, along with Rob Gronkowski, Joseph Addai, and Matthew Slater.
Addai also ran on a harness and ran some cone drills. Something to keep an eye on because he participated in position work last week. Brandon Spikes stretched with the team before retreating to the bubble. The offensive line has been worth keeping an eye on because of the musical chairs being played. Robert Gallery, who stood in for Mankins at left guard last week, took some snaps on the right this time. Marcus Cannon played some right tackle. Ryan Wendell played guard again in Waters' absence. A different look at center? Donald Thomas. I don't believe he saw a minute there last season. The drills check timing of the O-line against different fronts, different looks. OTAs are all about fundamentals and communication. Josh McDaniels got together with Brady, Brian Hoyer, Shane Vereen, and Danny Woodhead to study option routes. McDaniels would move his shoulders, imitating a middle linebacker. It was on the signal callers and backs to read the cues, adjust, and work with what was given. Brady is in mid-season form for screaming. He was at one point angry and pleading for urgency from his running backs. I won't give you his exact words -- and not just because I'm not allowed to. Both Julian Edelman and Danny Woodhead did some receiving on kickoff. Two others: Donte' Stallworth and Devin McCourty. McCourty was a go-to special teams player at Rutgers (14 returns for 356 yards and one touchdown in 2009), but hasn't reprised the role in New England. There was just no reason to risk injury with how well he played corner his rookie year. McCourty had one return for the Pats in 2011 for 24 yards. Stallworth has returned neither kick nor punt since 2005. When Stephen Gostkowski split off with Zoltan Mesko to practice field goals, he went though a routine similar to his pre-game. Kick, move back a few yards. Kick, move back. Kick, move back. Gostkowski had a nice boot from 51 yards out. A try from 56, however -- no good.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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