Harmon on Butler: 'People have to do what's best for them'

Harmon on Butler: 'People have to do what's best for them'

Malcolm Butler is a man without a team at the moment. Though it seems as though the wheels are in motion for him to be dealt to New Orleans, that's not a done deal, and there is a chance he ends up back in New England for 2017.

Patriots safety Duron Harmon, who re-signed with the Patriots this offseason after testing free agency, is hoping that Butler will be back. He understands, though, that any player who is weighing his options needs to do what's best for him. 

"I love Malcolm," Harmon said during a conference call Friday. "I love being his teammate, what he brings to the football field, what he brings to the locker room. I would love being his teammate but, you know, this is a business more than anything. I know that people have got to do what’s best for them, so I’m just rooting on him that he gets to do whatever he feels is best for him."

While Butler's future is up in the air, the Patriots are sure to have a new-look secondary in 2017 thanks to the acquisition of free-agent corner Stephon Gilmore. Though Gilmore is at his best when playing man-to-man and getting physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage, he won't be playing in a vacuum. He'll have to get up to speed on all the communication that occurs in the Patriots defensive backfield. 

The majority of the work in that regard will fall on Gilmore's shoulders, but he'll have to have help from the veterans he'll be working with. Harmon explained that he and his teammates will be willing to put in as many hours as need be in order for Gilmore to feel comfortable. 

"We’ve got to put the work in," he said. "We’ve got to come on the practice field, we’ve got to work hard on the practice field and in the classroom. If we've got to stay after, we've got to stay after.

"You know how much we like to win around here and communication is very key to how we play good defense. It probably will always be that way, so we’ve got to make sure the communication is up to par, and it’s going to be on us to make sure everybody is communicating and communicating the right stuff."

Dorsett (knee) hoping to be able to practice this week

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Dorsett (knee) hoping to be able to practice this week

FOXBORO -- The picture at wide receiver wasn't pretty for the Patriots by the time the clock hit zeros in the fourth quarter in New Orleans over the weekend. 

Chris Hogan looked hobbled for much of the second half. Phillip Dorsett left with a knee injury. Danny Amendola was ruled out well in advance of kickoff with a concussion and a knee injury. Matthew Slater was ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Brandin Cooks looked like the only Patriots wideout to finish the game feeling spry.

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But as the team prepares for the Texans this week, Dorsett is hoping he'll be back on the field with his teammates for practice. 

"I feel good," Dorsett said in the Patriots locker room Monday. "Just a little sore, but I'm alright."

Not only would it help the Patriots offense to have another body available at receiver, but Dorsett understands how crucial it is for him to practice as much as possible. He was acquired in a trade with the Colts just before the season, and he knows he has work to do to get adjusted to his new offense.

"It's just me going out there and getting the plays in practice," Dorsett said when asked about his confidence level in running New England's system. "I feel like practice builds my confidence. If I get to play in practice, I feel more comfortable when it comes to the game."

Dorsett looked comfortable in Week 2, catching three passes for 68 yards. His first grab in the first quarter went for 23 yards and came on a play when Tom Brady, who was hit as he released, threw a floater down the right sideline. Dorsett alertly saw the pass falling short and worked back toward the line of scrimmage to make the catch. 

"I think he trusts me," Dorsett said of Brady. "We work a lot during practice and after practice. Hopefully we can continue to gain more trust as the season goes on. It's only the second game. We got a long way to go."

More practice time would be helpful in allowing that relationship to continue to grow. We'll see if Dorsett gets any when the Patriots take the fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

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