Butler, McKenzie eye sophomore rise

One area that could contribute to the Patriots' improvement in 2010 is having last year's rookie class make a big leap. Bill Belichick makes the point that a player often makes the most significant strides between his first and second year, and part of the reason is that the player now knows what to expect from having been through a full season.

With this in mind, Chris Warner of Patriots Daily has put together two Q&A's of note -- with cornerback Darius Butler and linebacker Tyrone McKenzie.

After reading the interviews, I wanted to refresh my memory on Butler's play time over the course of the year. He was on the field for 51 percent of the team's defensive snaps, which is a significant total that is a solid foundation on which he can build. He played in 14 games, with five starts.

With Leigh Bodden back in the fold and slated to start at right cornerback, the battle at left cornerback should be competitive with Butler projected to push veteran Shawn Springs.