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Jones: Belichick Clearly Believes Malcolm Butler Has 'Taken A Step Back'

BOSTON (CBS) -- Malcolm Butler's sudden drop in snaps and loss of a starting role on Sunday against the Saints has left everyone wondering what's up with the Patriots' star cornerback. Bill Belichick had little to say about Butler in his Tuesday conference call, but 98.5 The Sports Hub's Adam Jones believes he told you everything you needed to know with what he did not say.

Jones and Nick Cattles discussed the Butler situation on Tuesday's abbreviated show, sifting through comments by both Belichick and Matt Patricia that essentially danced around the topic. Jones believes that, by not praising Butler in the same way he lauded fellow corners Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones, the coach is tacitly admitting that Butler isn't the same player he was to start his career.

"Bill thinks [Butler's] taken a step back, and Bill doesn't want to throw the player under the bus, I guess. He's not going to do it," said Jones. "He's certainly not going to let [reporters] strong-arm into saying something he doesn't want to say.

"What Bill didn't say tells you all you need to know about his feelings on Malcolm Butler."

Malcolm Butler - AFC Championship - Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots
Malcolm Butler - (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Butler hasn't quite performed up to his usual standard so far in 2017. In light of that, Cattles believes that Belichick is instilling a message to his players that he cares more about what you're doing for him right now and in the future rather than what you've done in the past.

"This is a situation where Butler hasn't been good enough to be a [positive] story for Belichick and Patricia," said Cattles. "I think this is the message to Butler: This is not about what you did in the Super Bowl a few years ago against Seattle. This is not about what you did last year as a player. This is about what we do right now. This is about 2017."

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