Each Wednesday throughout the season we'll identify one player, coach or area of the Patriots that is under the microscope. This week, CB Darius Butler is the choice.
When CB Leigh Bodden landed on injured reserve with a torn rotator cuff, Butler, a second-year player, became the Patriots' top corner, with the dubious job of covering the opposing team's top wide receiver. Through two games, that has included Chad Ochocinco and Braylon Edwards.
Butler handled his first test, recording eight tackles and a pass defensed against the Bengals, but late in the game Ochocinco flew past him for an easy 26-yard TD catch. It was a foreshadowing of the nightmare Butler would endure in Week Two.
Braylon Edwards beat Butler for a TD early in the game and a two-point conversion later on in the 28-14 loss last Sunday. Edwards taunted Butler, adding insult to injury. To make matters worse, Butler picked up two pass-interference penalties on one possession, leading to another Jets TD.
This week, Butler and the rest of the Patriots' defensive backs catch a break with the Bills and their 32nd-ranked passing game, but don't think the Bills won't try and test Butler. Especially if (and, likely when) the Bills fall behind, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will be airing it out. If Butler continues to struggle against the division's worst, the Patriots may need to reevaluate their CB situation.