Talented but underused Cowboys OLB Victor Butler visiting the Eagles

Victor Butler is scheduled to visit the Eagles, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Butler was visiting the Browns, but left without a deal in hand.

In his 4-year NFL career, Victor Butler has had to ride the bench in favor of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. The knock on Butler is that he doesn’t defend the run well, and isn’t natural in coverage. However, when he has gotten his opportunities as a pass rusher, he has produced.

I’m certainly not going to make some kind of argument that Butler is anywhere even remotely close to the player that DeMarcus Ware is, especially considering the added attention that Ware commands. However, when you compare Butler’s numbers to Ware’s, factoring in the amount of time they each saw on the field over the last 4 years, they’re really not all that far off, statistically:

Butler-Ware

His good stats aside, in doing film breakdowns of the Cowboys, Butler always just “seemed to show up” on film, although it may not have always shown up in the stat sheet. I remember doing a film breakdown of Sean Lee’s INTs in 2011, and Butler made two of them happen. Here he is hitting Tom Brady’s arm as he tried to throw, leading to a pick:

And here’s a batted pass from Eli Manning that led to a Lee pick. Ignore the arrow. It’s pointing to Lee. Focus on #57 defecting the pass:

Butler just makes plays. He’s a guy that has been stuck behind two other good-outstanding players for his entire career, who maybe just needs more playing time. But he’s a player that I have always liked.

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9 Comments

  1. [...] LB Victor Butler is visiting the Eagles today.  Here is Jimmy Bama’s take on that. [...]

  2. rage114 says:

    Don’t mind the pick up because it would be a depth move, like the other signings (expect for Casey and possibly Barwin).

  3. Jerrys point says:

    Eagles getting every one else trash might as well get some Cow Sh!

  4. Tim says:

    The question on these guys is always “Can they maintain their pass rush productivity (on a per snap basis) when thrust into more regular duty?”

    Last year, Butler had a QB disruption (QB Sack, Hit, or Hurry) once every 20 snaps (300 snaps, 15 disruptions). Ware had one every 15 snaps (896 snaps, 58 disruptions). So Ware smoked him, even though Butler is a situational rusher who was not in for many run downs, which should give him a big advantage in rate stats.

    That said, Butler’s rate was better the previous two years, so maybe he rebounds a bit next year. In 2010-2011 Cowboys fans were very excited about him as an up-and-coming rusher.

  5. David_Does_Dallas says:

    He will be a good addition to any team, but I don’t think he will ever be a three down player

    1. blurghbllah says:

      Agreed. The biggest red flag for me was the fact that they not only opted to play a half-dead Ware instead of him against the Skins with the playoffs on the line, but *continued* to do so when it was obvious that he was a liability out there that night.

      1. TJ says:

        Agreed. Check tape Week 4 vs. Chicago when spencer was out. Non-Factor.

        1. blurghbllah says:

          Ugh, don’t remind me. It wasn’t so much “non-factor” as “so bad that he killed Ware’s production for that entire game.” I remember seeing like 5 plays where Demarcus would have come away with a sack if Butler had gotten any pressure on Cutler whatsoever.

          Man, as bad as that second Skins game was, week 4 was so much more painful for me. It felt so… 2010.

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