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Does Brice Butler Deserve A Bigger Offensive Role?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Does Brice Butler Deserve A Bigger Offensive Role?

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brice Butler has been a hot topic for discussion before, but knowing that All-Pro WR Dez Bryant would likely be out against the San Francisco 49ers, the spotlight was focused in Butler's direction once again.

Heading into the 2016 season, many people believed that #19 would give Terrance Williams a run for his money and possibly become the Cowboys new #2 wide receiver.

Unfortunately, that battle never really materialized, but that doesn't mean the book is closed for Butler becoming in another weapon for the Cowboys offense.

Stepping into the shoes of a wide receiver of Bryant's caliber is never an easy task to take on, but Butler finally showed why the Cowboys organization traded a fifth round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders to obtain his services last season.

If you're going by stats alone, then Butler's 5 receptions for 41 yards and 1 touchdown against the 49ers is nothing to get too excited about. But, if you throw in the fact that he probably should've had another TD if not for 49ers CB Rashard Robinson making a good play by knocking the ball out of his hands in the end zone, then Butler's stats would look a lot more impressive.

Butler has all the tools to be really good WR in the NFL, but for some reason hasn't really been able to put it all together when it's counted.

So, that bring us to the question of does Brice Butler deserve a bigger role on offense?

Cowboys Headlines - Does Brice Butler Deserve A Bigger Offensive Role? 1If we are all being completely honest with ourselves, then when examining everything it's difficult to see a scenario where Butler can have a bigger role for the Cowboys offense due to the players ahead of him on the depth chart.

When we break things down, Dez Bryant is without a doubt the #1 WR, like it or not Terrance Williams is the #2, and Cole Beasley is firmly cemented as the Cowboys slot receiver. That doesn't exactly bode well for Butler to receive a larger role on offense.

I know what you're probably thinking, because the thought has probably crossed my mind as well.

Why not let Butler take some of Williams' snaps?

Well, despite what we all may think, Terrance Williams does a lot of dirty work that the coaching staff for the Cowboys really appreciates. It doesn't show up on the stat sheets, but that doesn't make it any less important.

The dirty work that I'm referring to is Williams' blocking in the running game. I challenge you to watch some of the game film from previous games and pay close attention to how much #83 helps the running game by blocking down field.

It's an underrated aspect to Williams' game, but it is extremely important to why the Cowboys running game is so successful. Butler simply hasn't added that trait to his game yet.

That's not it. Butler's route running isn't as crisp as Williams' either. Butler has gotten better in this area since last year, but still has plenty of room for improvement.

I'm not trying to knock Butler down or anything like that, because I do believe he has the traits to be more of a #1 WR if he continues to develop.

Where Butler is better than Williams is catching the ball away from his body. Butler has a much larger catching radius and can go up and catch the ball at the highest point, much like we have seen Dez Bryant do so many times. Williams as we know is more of a body catcher.

If Brice Butler can continue on his current trajectory, then I could see a scenario where the coaching staff starts to give him more opportunities in the passing game, especially if Dez Bryant is unable to stay healthy.

All in all, there is no way of answering with any certainty if Brice Butler will see a bigger role on offense, but I for one wouldn't mind seeing him get the ball thrown his way a little more often.

To have capable wide receivers able to step up when needed is certainly not a bad problem to have for the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, we would rather it not be as an injury replacement for our top WR.

Do you think Brice Butler deserves a bigger role on offense?

Let me hear what you think of Brice Butler's offensive role in the comment section below.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Arturo Delmoni

    October 4, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Yes, very much so. He’s tall & he’s fast & he’s smart. Develop him, coaches!!

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      October 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Arturo, thanks for commenting. I’m a fan of Butler’s and I think we will start to see him get involved a little bit more on offense.

  2. Mike O'D

    October 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Definitely agree that he needs more looks. I admit that I might be holding that bone head move from Game 1 against T-Will. I was happy to see him punished with no targets in week 2. Good article. Appreciate your work.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      October 4, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Mike. I appreciate the positive feedback. It’s definitely going to be difficult for a lot of us to forget Williams not running out of bounds against the Giants and I think that’s why a lot of people are pulling for Butler to see more playing time. Williams is definitely a fan of the coaching staff’s, but Butler could start cutting into 83’s snaps a little bit. As long as the Cowboys can continue to get production from their entire receiver group it doesn’t really bother me who sees more playing time, but I would definitely like to see the ball going Butler’s way a little bit more

  3. javonta

    October 4, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Give the man PT.

  4. javonta

    October 4, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    BB PT please!

  5. Eric Welly

    October 5, 2016 at 8:33 am

    2 points- 1st they both have weak hands, 2. They can’t get off of press unless crossing or slanting. Williams is hit or miss getting off the jam and up the field but his catch radius is getting bigger now that he’s using his hands and reach to get the ball and not running into the pass, but accepting the pass. Biggest issue with both of them is the play calling, both are run away possession recievers, slants, comebacks, dbl move guys. Basically until they beat single coverage and get deep Witten\Squirrel\RBs will continue to be Daks 1-2-3 reads. Getting the screen game online early will open it up for the outside guys.

    Great thing is, Dak will make them look good and Romo will make them even more dangerous. So many weapons to choose from, truly a pick your poison Offense.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      October 5, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Thanks for commenting Eric. I agree with everything you said except that Butler and Williams both have weak hands. I think this is where Butler is better than Williams. He has a large catching radius and can go up and catch the ball the highest point. He should have had a second TD against the 49ers, but the CB made a good play by getting his arm between Butler’s and knocking the ball away. It will be interesting to see how both WRs perform going forward and especially once Romo is back.

  6. John Williams

    John Williams

    October 7, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    I think Butler’s role will increase. Maybe not in 2016, but he has a really strong chance at being the number two outside receiver if the Dallas Cowboys let Terrance Williams walk in the offseason. Butler got 9 targets in week 4. It shows Dak’s confidence in Butler’s ability to make plays. I think he converts on more of those chances if he is slated to start in week 5.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      October 7, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      John, I completely agree. Prescott has actually missed a few opportunities to connect with Butler deep so for the season. I expect that to change once Romo is back in the lineup. I could possibly see where he gets a few more chances as the #2 WR this year in certain situations over Williams. But I think you’re right, I think he has a really good chance to re-sign after the season because the Cowboys probably won’t be up to match Williams’ asking price.

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Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/1085291591399546880?s=21

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

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Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.



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For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way

John Williams

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Playoff Scenarios Aim Towards Seahawks vs Cowboys in Wild Card

In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.

This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.

A few Rams Passing Game Notes

  • The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
  • The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
  • The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
  • The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
  • They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
  • The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.

Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.

On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.

The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.

NFL Research on Twitter

Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak

No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.

The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.

The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.

This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.



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