Malcolm Butler struggles vs. Brandin Cooks: ‘I got some work put in on me’

But Butler earned a rare round of praise from head coach Bill Belichick.

Malcolm Butler earned a rare round of praise from head coach Bill Belichick.
Malcolm Butler is New Engand's No. 1 cornerback. –AP

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At Tuesday morning‘s joint practice with New Orleans,  cornerback Malcolm Butler had a little bit of trouble sticking with Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

“I got some work put in on me today,” Butler said, “but you know that’s the goal, to come out here and compete every single day.”

During 11 on 11 drills, Drew Brees found Cooks for several big plays, with Butler often a step behind. Butler said that tomorrow was a new day, and he was looking forward to a  rematch.

Butler admitted there was a little bit of a rivalry brewing between him and Cooks, as this is the second year that the two young players have faced off during training camp. Butler was also asked what made Cooks such a good player.

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“He’s fast,” Butler said. “He can stop on a dime, he’s strong, he’s got it all besides the height.”

Despite some apparent struggles Tuesday, Bill Belichick was uncharacteristically complimentary of Butler before practice.

“Malcolm works hard,” said Belichick. “He’s gotten better each year. He’s certainly way ahead of where he was last year at this time, which was way ahead of where he was his rookie year at this time.

“His roles have expanded in terms of playing on both sides, playing inside, and I’d say his overall coverage and understanding and technique and the variety of things he can do at a proficient level has continued to expand and grow. He’s done a good job for us and continues to get better.”

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