The New England Patriots are starting phase two of their offseason program and CB Malcom Butler is in attendance, per ESPN’s Field Yates and Mike Reiss. Yates notes that Butler was not participating with the team prior to the draft, while Reiss adds that “Butler is all-in with Patriots for 2017.”
Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, phase one of the offseason program is just strength and conditioning. Phase two introduces football drills.
“During Phase Two all coaches shall be allowed on the field,” according to the CBA. “On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as ‘perfect play’ drills (e.g., offense or defense only, but not offense vs. defense), or special teams drills on a ‘separates’ basis (e.g.., kicking team or return team only, but not kicking team vs. return team).
“No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. No offense vs. defense drills are permitted (e.g.., no one-on-one offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bumpand-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted.)
“Players cannot wear helmets during Phase Two.”
So the team is starting to take shape and Butler is ready to be a big part of the team’s success in 2017. If Butler handles his 2017 season like he’s approached his previous three years in the league, the sky is the limit for both Butler and the Patriots defense as they begin their Super Bowl title defense.