Belichick the day after: Butler benching was 'best for the football team'

Belichick the day after: Butler benching was 'best for the football team'

MINNEAPOLIS -- Say this for Bill Belichick: He's consistent. It's the quality that many players, including Tom Brady, reference first when explaining what makes Belichick as effective as he is as a head coach. 

On a Monday morning conference call after his team's 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, Belichick remained consistent in his message when asked why Malcolm Butler did not play a single defensive snap in the game. 


"I respect Malcolm's competitiveness," Belichick said when a reporter noted Butler's emotional postgame response to the benching. "I'm sure that he felt like he could've helped. I'm sure other players felt the same way. In the end, we have to make decisions that are best for the football team."

Butler had played all but seven Patriots defensive snaps since Week 2 of the regular season, including playoffs. That he was sidelined for the entirety of the game, aside from one snap on New England's punt-return unit, prompted multiple questions as to why that was best for the team. 

One follow-up mentioned fans who invest emotionally were still curious about the decision. 

"I appreciate the question," Belichick said, "but it would be a much longer discussion. There are a lot of things that go into that. In the end, the final decision is what I said it was."

The Eagles threw for 374 yards and four touchdowns in the game. The 538 yards allowed by New England's defense were the most ever surrendered by a Patriots unit coached by Belichick -- one more than the 537 surrendered to Kansas City in the season opener. 


Belichick and Matt Patricia utilized their safeties heavily in the contest, keeping Devin McCourty (73 snaps), Duron Harmon (64) and Patrick Chung (61) on the field for the majority of the game. Jordan Richards played 15 snaps in the contest.

At corner, Stephon Gilmore (73) never came off, and Eric Rowe played the vast majority of snaps (70). Even seldom-used corner Johnson Bademosi (10 snaps) saw time over Butler. Bademosi was inactive for the Divisional Round game against the Titans, and he did not play defensively in the AFC Championship Game. 

Asked what made Bademosi the choice in three-corner sets over Butler, Belichick replied, "[Bademosi] practiced it the most." 

By the time the call ended, questions about the situation lingered, but Belichick had held firm. In his mind, benching Butler was best for the team. We still just don't know why that is. 


Julian Edelman posts video of resistance-band training

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Julian Edelman posts video of resistance-band training

Julian Edelman is grinding.

The New England Patriots receiver, who is recovering from an ACL repair surgery that ended his 2017 season, shared a quick video from his workout on Tuesday. Edelman is shown running with a resistance band and a trainer in-tow.

Edelman has posted a few tidbits on social media to show encouraging signs during his recovery since he got surgery in October after suffering an ACL tear in a preseason game. He was spotted around the locker room a few times during the final weeks of the 2017 season.

"Rehab is a [expletive]. It sucks," Edelman said in November on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take podcast." "You go in and you’re feeling decent and then you warm up, you beat it up and then you get stiff again. I mean it’s just a process and you go in six days a week and you’re going into work it, work on everything — your flexion, your extension."

Jesse James relieved Patriots didn't win Super Bowl LII

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Jesse James relieved Patriots didn't win Super Bowl LII

Steelers tight end Jesse James is glad the Patriots' Super Bowl pursuit is done -- mostly because he played a big part in helping accelerate it.

In the final moments of the game, James failed to catch the ball during a Week 15 contest between the Steelers and the Patriots. The non-catch was a controversial one.

James told Centre Daily Times' Josh Moyer he finally felt relief on the morning after the Super Bowl when the Patriots fell to the Eagles, 41-33.

“I don’t feel like I gave them a Super Bowl with that,” James told the Daily Times. “So I’m over it now, but it’s going to be a topic of conversation until the rule gets changed — or it doesn’t.”

James' play was initially ruled a touchdown before the referees overturned the play, and took the lead away from the Steelers in the final moments of the game. Ben Roethlisberger then threw an interception a few plays later. By winning, the Patriots took a huge step in locking themselves into the AFC's top seed with a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which they rode into the Super Bowl.

But of course, they couldn't finish their Super Bowl pursuit -- to James' satisfaction.