As Malcolm Butler heads into free agency, he should explain what happened

Malcolm Butler

That is a question that the New England Patriots coaching staff refuses to answer, but one that continues to linger over the heads of everyone left stunned by the team's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was no more forthcoming on Monday about his surprise benching of one-time Super Bowl star Malcolm Butler.

Belichick's past unorthodox moves like using wide receivers Julian Edelman and Troy Brown as defensive backs could always be justified as genius from a prescient mad scientist, but benching Butler was different.

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"That doesn't concern me at all", he said when asked about Butler's benching. Patriots defenders had to adjust (physically and mentally) to playing without a reliable and consistent presence in the secondary without much notice.

Butler was widely considered one of New England's best defensive players throughout the year before the Patriots allowed 538 yards and 41 points to backup quarterback Nick Foles and the Eagles. Former Patriot cornerback Brandon Browner ripped the move in an Instagram post after the game, which was subsequently liked by current Patriot Dont'a Hightower. "In the end we have to make the decision that we feel are best for the football team". "I'm sure other players felt the same way". "I don't know. That's how the game goes sometimes". "I'm sure the players felt the same way".

If you're going to go down, you may as well at least go down with your best players on the field.

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"A locker room was divided pre game", he added in another post and he also pointed out that the Eagles amassed "the most passing yards in Super Bowl history".

Patriots defensive co-ordinator Matt Patricia, who is expected to become the Lions' head coach, told reporters that his team was simply "trying to run some packages", which apparently didn't happen to include Butler. I could have changed that game, though. Maybe, maybe not. Philadelphia played a almost ideal game and did what it had to do to win, so who knows how they might have responded. "That's about it", Butler told ESPN's Mike Reiss.

The three players that the Patriots chose to use instead of Butler, Rowe, Johnson Bademosi and Jordan Richards, all graded out significantly worse than Butler.

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