Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler broke his silence for the first time since being benched against the Saints. Butler was nearlyt traded to New Orleans an would have signed a big contract extension if the deal went through.
Butler hasn't played well so far this year, and the defensive back took the blame.
"There's been times I've been through a lot of stuff and made it to the national football league," Butler said.
"If I can handle that and make it to the NFL, I can put my mind together and make it through this."
Butler admits it's easy to get down on himself for his poor play, and knows there's much work to be done.
"We've all had that feeling before but we know it's not going to help. I've got to go out there and play hard with a lot of fire," Butler said.
"And that's what I'm going to do."
"I try to always encourage everyone and stay up beat," Patriots captain Devin McCourty said.
"I jump around at practice. Now that you say that I'm gonna pay more attention and keep him upbeat," McCourty said of Butler.
The defense will ahve their hands full this weekend against rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson. The 22-year old earning his first win as a starter last week against the Bengals. He will look to keep the streak going against the Pats.
"He can run if we don't keep him in the pocked and surround him as much as possible," McCourty said.
On the offensive side of the ball, Tom Brady hoping some of his favorite targets will be available Sunday.
Rob Gronkowski was a limited participant in practice, after being seen at practice Wednesday, but listed as a non-participant.
Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, and Matthew Slater were also limited. Rex Burkhead and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon did not practice for the second straight day Thursday.