Bell tolls unexpectedly for Brandon Meriweather


Bell tolls unexpectedly for Brandon Meriweather

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran Despite all the very legible tea leaves and the paragraphs of writing on the wall, it just didn't seem reasonable to release Brandon Meriweather. No, he wasn't the Pro Bowl-caliber player his resume can claim he is,but neither was he an outright stiff. So, despite all the veteran safeties the team worked out and signed, and despite Meriweather playing late in the final preseason game, I figured he was safe. And he figured he was safe. "Why everybody feel like Im in trouble? he asked me Thursday night after the Patriots final preseason game. Hey, maybe they know something we dont. Maybe they know something that Belichick didnt tell us. He usually comes and tell us if theres something going on. Hes good with stuff like that so, you know, Im just going to keep working hard and keep playing.It seemed a bad sign for him to be running around with the scrubs in the second half, I told him. "Iwouldnt say that. Coaches want to see me play and the other guys play too. I wouldnt say its because Im going downhill or anything like that, its when Coach Belichick wanted to play me.I nodded and agreed. Of course that was it. Josh Barrett was on the field with Patrick Chung in the first half. Barrett had never played for the Patriots. He needed reps. And Sergio Brown was out there with Chung. Made sense. Get him some time as well. Meriweather's assets and limitations were well known after four seasons on the team. And with James Sanders released earlier in the week,Bill Belichick couldn't be cutting his most senior safety even if he was a bit of a clown at times. On Friday, Belichick indicated Meriweather had a good training camp. He discounted the fact Meriweather -- a first-round pick in 2007 -- was on the field in the second half - and added "(His camp) has been good. Brandon has been out there every day. Hes worked hard. Hes been able to do everything and I think hes gotten better, worked a lot on his man-to-man coverage. Hes out there practicing like everybody else is."Not anymore. Meriweather doesn't figure to be out of work long. Although there will be significant questions for him to overcome before another team hires him. Within minutes of his release becoming public, an NFC personnel man called me to ask, "What's the deal with Meriweather?"I told him Meriweather can play but that he's kind of immature and easily led. Not a bad kid but one who seems to put himself in strange spots off the field and on.For the Patriots, the question is simple. Now what? Chung is obviously a front-line safety. Brown and Barrett? Totally unproven. James Ihedigbo covers like a defensive tackle. The Patriots have a handful of talented corners and they don't get hung up on the cornersafety definition. Some players are simply hybrid defensive backs. Maybe that's their plan. Or maybe the plan is to scour the releases on Saturday and get a player somebody else gave up on to take a twirl here. Friday, I did some kicking around just to make sure my instincts were right. Meriweather wouldn't be cut. I was told it seemed a reasonable assumption, but to leave myself some wiggle room. Wiggle.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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. 

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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