Steelers DC: Patriots do things that are 'on the edge of being legal or not legal'

Steelers DC: Patriots do things that are 'on the edge of being legal or not legal'

FOXBORO -- It may not be long before Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tells Steelers coordinator Keith Butler to "study the rule book and figure it out." 

Butler made an appearance on's Coodinators' Corner show this week and hinted that the Patriots do things that border on illegal, seemingly referencing their use of odd formations in the Divisional Round of the playoffs two seasons ago as an example.

"I don't think they're doing anything special," Butler said when asked why it's so difficult to prepare for the Patriots offense. "I think sometimes they do things outside the box sometimes, you know, that might be on the edge of being legal or not legal.

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"They've done a couple of things in the past . . . putting an offensive tackle out as ineligible but he's not really. And so sometimes the emphasis by the NFL in terms of what they call and what they don't call, they use that a little bit. And they've been accused of doing a lot of things. But the thing we've got to do is ignore that and play, and hopefully we can give them something they haven't seen from us."

After the Patriots ran their unusual formations against the Ravens in January of 2015, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh insisted that no one had ever seen those formations before, and he was certain the league would look at their legality. Reacting to Harbaugh's comments that night, Brady defended his team's tactics. 

"Who knows? Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out," Brady said at the time. "We obviously knew what we were doing and we made some pretty important plays. It was a real good weapon for us. Maybe we’ll have something in store next week."

Brady added: "I don’t know what’s deceiving about that. [They] should figure it out."

In the aftermath of the game, the league was open about the fact that New England's formations were, in fact, legal. However, the following week, the NFL's head of officiating Dean Blandino pointed out that Nate Solder's touchdown grab in the AFC title game should not have counted due to an illegal substitution call that was missed.


The Patriots have yet to run much in the way of formational trickery this season, save for an alignment in Week 5 against the Browns in which Solder was lined up as the left guard next to center David Andrews. On the opposite side of the formation Joe Thuney lined up outside right tackle Cameron Fleming as a tight end. That play resulted in a short LeGarrette Blount run.

Butler added that, "If we're going to beat them, we can't get beat mentally, either, in terms of making mistakes. We can't make mistakes -- mental mistakes. And we have to tackle. If we can do those two things, that will increase our chances of winning immensely."

You can listen to the full interview with Butler -- during which he calls Rob Gronkowski more of a receiver than a blocker and Julian Edelman "more of a possession receiver" -- right here

Eagles DE Michael Bennett charged with injury to elderly paraplegic

AP Photo

Eagles DE Michael Bennett charged with injury to elderly paraplegic

Prosecutors in Houston say a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett for injuring a paraplegic woman as he tried get onto the field at last year's Super Bowl to celebrate with his brother.

The Harris County district attorney's office says a grand jury indicted Bennett on Friday on a felony count of injury to the elderly.

Authorities say Bennett was a spectator at the game in Houston when he tried to get onto the field immediately after the game to see his brother, Martellus Bennett, a tight end for the Patriots at the time. Prosecutors say he pushed through security personnel, including a 66-year-old disabled woman who had told him to use a different entrance to access the field.

The Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month acquired Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks.


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Robert Kraft flying high school protesters on Patriots' jet

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Robert Kraft flying high school protesters on Patriots' jet

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is using the team plane to transport high school students from Parkland, Florida. The plane will take the students from Florida to a rally in Washington, D.C. where they will stage a protest to promote gun reform.

Kraft took action after Arizona Congreswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband asked him for help, according to CBS Boston.

The students' organized protests, which are expected to take place nation-wide, come after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which left 17 people dead.

Some students took to Twitter to thank Kraft for the gesture.