Pats-Bucs pregame


Pats-Bucs pregame

TAMPA - The sun will be down but the temperature will still be up at kickoff Friday night. Temperatures here are in the high 80s and the humidity's a bear.

A few pregame notes...

Spoke to Dan Koppen Thursday about this game. He's in a position where his job security isn't assured. He acknowledged as much. Asked about his slow start to camp, Koppen said, "I think it's getting back into it. Just trying to get better. Slow start, whatever, doesn't matter just trying to earn a spot on this team and see what I can do."

Asked if he realizes the height of the competition between himself Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald and Dan Connolly puts him in jeopardy, Koppen said, "Every day you gotta earn a spot. There's no sacred cows here. Every year you earn your spot and this year we've had a lot of guys who are playing well. They deserve a chance, I deserve a chance, we'll see how it goes."

Agent Drew Rosenhaus was on the field before the game and caught up with Donte Stallworth. Rosenhaus has five Bucs clients and eight Patriots clients, including Rob Gronkowski.

Jeff Demps in on the field in BJGE's jersey and figures to get some reps. Where is the question.

Brady: Patriots have 'Trump' and 'Clinton' play-calls


Brady: Patriots have 'Trump' and 'Clinton' play-calls

When the Giants took on the Rams in London on Sunday, there was a point early in the second quarter when Eli Manning very clearly made a call at the line of scrimmage that was picked up by nearby broadcast microphones.

"Trump, Trump!" Manning shouted. "Trump, Trump!"

Manning insisted that it was not "Trump" that he was saying, but maybe he simply wanted to try to keep one of his team's calls under wraps for a future opponent.

On Monday morning, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whose relationship with Donald Trump has been well-documented, was told about the Giants call on WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show.

"Oh really?" Brady said. "We got a call like that, too. We got a call. They listen to everything we say. They got the microphones, and they can pretty much hear everything . . . It goes for both teams, but I wish you wouldn't have your whole -- a lot of mechanisms in your offense are based on what you say." 

For anyone worried about equal time, Brady explained that the Patriots aren't strictly leaning to the right with their calls at the line.

"I'm telling you," he said, "Trump and Clinton. Those are our two calls."

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 But 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 held Brown to five catches on 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 way 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. 

Coach Bill 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 9 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.