The Butler Didn’t Do It

Darius Butler Released

Darius Butler was released by the Patriots earlier today.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Loyko

Today Darius Butler became the next in the line of recently drafted Patriot cornerbacks to be released. Here is why.

Drafted in the 2nd round with pick 41st overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Darius Butler came into the Patriots organization with high expectations. During Butler’s first season with the Patriots he showed off his potential by intercepting 3 passes including one he returned for a touchdown in the regular season finale against the Texans. Even though he would struggle at times it seemed the Patriots had finally found a quality corner to be part of the rebuilt secondary.

Entering his second season in the organization expectations were high based on his rookie year. The Patriots drafted Devin McCourty in the 1st round in 2010 and had re-signed Leigh Bodden, so Butler figured to play one of the top 3 CB spots. When Leigh Bodden was lost for the season due to injury in the preseason, Butler was elevated to starter opposite Devin McCourty.

In retrospect it looks like he just wasn’t ready for that challenge. Game 1 of last season he was matched up against Chad Ochocinco for most of the game. Chad went on to have his best game of the year registering 12 catches for 159 yards and a TD which he beat Butler for.

The turning point with Darius Butler appeared to be last season, week 2 against the Jets. He was constantly picked on by Mark Sanchez, including a touchdown pass where Braylon Edwards famously did the “Dougie” in Butler’s face. After that game Butler was passed on the depth chart by Kyle Arrington and Butler’s confidence and “game” couldn’t be regained. Game after game it appeared that Butler would be a step slow in coverage. Often getting beat by receivers much less athletic than him.

It was maddening for Patriot fans because he had been much better during his rookie year, and looked nothing like that player in year 2. Based on Pro Football Focus’s number’s opposing QB’s had a rating of 103.8 when throwing at Butler and averaged over 12 yards per completion. When you add in the fact that the Patriots led the league in interceptions last year and Butler didn’t record a single one, it really magnifies how bad a season he had.

Entering camp this season it appeared Butler stood on shaky ground. Devin McCourty is coming off a Pro Bowl rookie season, Leigh Bodden returns from injury and Bill Belichick used the 33rd overall pick to draft another CB Ras-I Dowling. Even though he was on the bubble I figured that as long as he didn’t play awful during camp he would be given one more season to show what he can do.

Watching the 4 preseason games and camp closely it had appeared to be more of the same for Butler. He logged a lot of minutes in the preseason and while he once again was thrown at a lot and gave up more completions that I thought he should have he wasn’t awful. While Butler was able to survive the initial cut, rumors were circulating that the Patriots were trying to trade him. Unable to trade him the Patriots cut ties today. (UPDATE: The Panthers claimed Darius Butler off of waivers)

It’s rare for such a high second round pick to be cut after just 2 seasons into his career. Butler will go down with Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite as cornerbacks who were recently drafted by the Patriots that just flat out didn’t pan out. The release of Butler leaves the Patriots with 5 corners on the roster—Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, rookie Ras-I Dowling, Kyle Arrington and new comer Antwaun Molden.

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16 Responses to “The Butler Didn’t Do It”

  1. TD says:

    If Edds can LS really good, then he is in long term and adios the new LS.

    This part of the roster is where BB is in a different stratosphere from other coaches. He is zen master at determining player value for HIS team and whether to cut or keep. This ability makes waiver wire his personal PS.

  2. D. T. says:

    The Vollmer injury reveals our lack of O-Line depth. Does anyone think Solder can handle RT? With Cameron Wake and Misi on the other side?

  3. D. T. says:

    Well…I guess our Wk 1 Roster is set with Gerard Warren gone and Gronk and Edds in instead of Warren and Butler. This means the team really values Tarpinian…or they’ll cut him when they sign a safety.

    I think at this point, Crumpler and Warren are on speed dial AFTER Wk 1.

  4. D. T. says:

    Did I say….I told you so!!! I called this a couple posts back. I said Butler has reached his peak witht he Patriots. I was right.

    Edds may replace Tarpinian (who goes on IR).

    I think the O will be set once we bring on Dan Gronk officially. Forget the Moss chatter.

    The D needs to be trimmed. Molden, Ihedigbo, Barrett don’t have guaranteed roster spots. Slater and White are also still in danger.

    We need a SAFETY.

  5. TD says:

    IMO, Arrington may be at bottom of CB list. His numbers from last year were not so hot, but he did make a few plays (INT for TD) and special teams, unlike Butler who made zero plays.

  6. JMC says:

    Epps, I think is a long snapper. Is he eligible for the practice squad?

    Has the new Gronk been actually been added to the roster?
    Gronk #3 who just got cut by Dallas; he plays defense, is that correct?

    Both Stephen Spach, a blocking TE and former Patriot recently cut by the Cardinals and inside (slot) CB Joselio Hanson, formally of the Eagles, are still available.

  7. Ryan says:

    He is almost like another Offensive lineman. Sorry. I got excited.

  8. Ryan says:

    Nothing against Butler but I think our roster is better without him. I like physicalness of the guys on our roster, I also like that idea that if Bill asks them to do something they will listen and do their best (unlike meri). While those saying that his drafting techniques suck and blah blah, I disagree, we had so many opportunities in the past three years because of the way we drafted. Granted they all haven’t worked out but we have pretty sweet roster right now. Just scan through it, while I admit there are weaknesses, this roster is truly head and shoulders better than it was last year.

    I have to admit I’m a Hawkeye fan, but I think A.J could start for the Pats. He is a smart instinctive player with good speed and intangibles.

    I’m also very excited about Gronk coming here, talk about one of the best blocking tightends in the NFL. He lead the way for many TD’s and had an 86% blocking consistency the guy is perfect. Shoot he is almost like another TE. I’m starting to get very excited about our roster. While we do have holes, our holes aren’t nearly as bad as our FANatics selves want to make it out to be.

  9. Dan says:

    And, I guess the rest of the entire NFL community missed those stats…he’s been on the block now for at least a few weeks and nobody offered even a 7th rounder. That’s a whole bunch of NFL experts dying to find guys who can play; especially young, fast, athletic guys from the Pat’s system…and, nobody bit.
    That kind of tells a story doesn’t it?

    • qwerty says:

      your flimsy response tells a story.

      let’s sweep his stats under the rug.

      BB couldn’t make a trade for anyone so i guess their manure talent also.

      with no butler, you’ll have to find another player to pick on

      oh no merriweather gone also

  10. qwerty says:

    this is why you don’t have much credibility in your comments about butler.

    the stats and ranking would be better if they just included his ideal position – cb slot.

    i also view him a second best cover CB on pats last year. it is why their defense improved second half of season.

    he was even claimed by the panthers who are first in line.

    Here’s a glimpse at the statistical decline with PFF numbers:

    2009: 69 targets, 39 receptions, 475 yards, 107 YAC, 2 TD, 3 INT, 69.4 QB rating
    2010: 49 targets, 30 receptions, 390 yards, 112 YAC, 3 TD, 0 INT, 106.7 QB rating

    McCourty: 104 targets, 58 receptions, 614 yards, 174 YAC, 5 TD, 7 INT, 61.1 QB rating
    Arrington: 75 targets, 49 receptions, 742 yards, 195 YAC, 5 TD, 1 INT, 114.4 QB rating

    (Edited by Admin for copyright issues – please see this link for the whole article)

    • Dan says:

      stats, stats, stats…

      Just watch the game and see his man get open every play and the other team go after him relentlessly. Maybe Belichick missed your stats and is making a huge mistake; maybe he was at the game and was confused by what he saw the last 2 years?
      Arrington’s coverage wasn’t much better, but he’s tougher and hanging on to his job by a thread.
      McCourty saved last season; without his play they were toast, he was amazing.

      I don’t know what games you were watching, honestly. The sure sign of a misguided sports fan is stats. Join Tanguay, Dale Arnold, Bob Neumeier.

      Watch the game…

    • John says:

      ya i agree i thought butler looked better than he ever did this preseason and i thought it would make more sense to release 1 of the 3 designated special teams players in ihedigbo (although we probably need him due to lack of safety depth), white, or slater than a guy who i think could still contribute down the line this year at nickel

  11. Lundahl says:

    When is Sharper coming in ?! 🙂

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