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Has Brice Butler Earned A Larger Offensive Role In 2017?

Brian Martin

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Has Brice Butler Earned A Larger Offensive Role In 2017?
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The sample size may be a little small, but through a few weeks of padded training camp practices and one preseason game, wide receiver Brice Butler looks much improved. If he can continue to carry this momentum throughout the rest the off-season, he could possibly be looking at a much larger offensive role with the Dallas Cowboys in 2017.

In 2015, the Dallas Cowboys sent a 2016 fifth-round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders to acquire Brice Butler's services. Ever since then a lot of Cowboys Nation have been anxiously awaiting for him to emerge as a consistent offensive weapon. Fortunately for Cowboys fans and Butler, it's starting to look as if that is exactly what is happening.

Brice Butler has shown flashes of his playmaking ability since joining the Cowboys, but he has also shown an inconsistency that has been frustrating to say the least. It's those flashes that excited a lot of us and started the questioning of whether or not he could surpass Terrance Williams on the depth chart.

A year ago at this time the debate of Terrance Williams and Brice Butler was one of the hottest topics of discussion among Cowboys fans. We all know Williams didn't surrender his job in 2016, but Butler's play in both practices and games so far could open the debate once again.

WR Brice ButlerThere is definitely a lot to like about Brice Butler's game and what he could possibly add to the Cowboys offense. He is one of the tallest and heaviest (6'3", 220) WRs currently on the roster. But, he also possesses the speed (4.37 40 yard dash) that could add an entirely different dimension to the offense.

Butler has the size and speed to be a weapon all over the field, but he could also be that legitimate deep threat Cowboys fans have wanted for years now. Unfortunately though it's his lack of consistency and attention span which has always seemed to hold him back from becoming that type of weapon.

Has he finally put things together? Yes. No. Maybe.

I definitely think Brice Butler has a chance to see a larger role on offense in 2017 with the Cowboys, but he's going to have to continue to prove himself worthy. This is especially true considering the fact the Cowboys WR position is arguably the deepest it has ever been from top to bottom.

There are only so many balls to go around in the passing game and the pecking order doesn't do Butler any favors. But, if he continues to play the way he has thus far this off-season, I think offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will find a way to get him more involved.

Everything seems to be in his hands right now (pun intended). All he has to do now is take advantage of it.

Will Brice Butler have a larger offensive role in 2017?



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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8 Comments
  • Derek Robinson

    Yes! I think he has. He has the speed to take that back-end pressure off of Dez. If the OC can find ways to get him in single coverage, could mean a lot of yards and a lot of TOUCHDOWNS.

    • Brian Martin

      If they can remain consistent like he has been so far this off-season, he can really be a really good weapon for the Cowboys in 2017

  • John Williams

    I think what we are about to see is the team going empty backfield while relying less on Jason Witten.

    We will start seeing them go 5-wide more often this year. Because there seem to be so many playmakers on this team now, it’s going to be difficult for them all to get a ton of snaps. With Brice potentially being the guy to take the top off the defense and teams having to worry about Dez Bryant all over the field and Beasley and Switzer underneath, and the running game, it’s all going to come together offensively for them.

    They are going to score points. And a lot of them.

    I have a hard time believing that Williams will lose snaps though. His do it all ability as a WR makes him someone you don’t want to take off the field. Now if Brice can get his blocking on par with Twill, then we are having a different conversation.

    • Brian Martin

      John, I agree with everything you said. Well stated.

      • John Williams

        Thanks. Sometimes I have good thoughts. Lol.

  • Cris de Campos

    Great article. I really hope to see him step into the #2 spot (even though my gut tells me nothing will change). I thought it would happen last year. Even with any inconsistencies that may still show up, I think his big play ability is just too much to not have on the field. Much like a Tyrell Williams on the Chargers, he’s the only guy on this squad that can take a crossing route and take it 80 yards, take the top off the defense, and has really shown some ability to fight for and win 50/50 balls. I think if it was up to me I’d just rotate Terrance Williams in and out as needed for breathers, or perhaps for matchup reasons in the slot on occasion.

    • Brian Martin

      I’m not sure if anything will change either. The Cowboys coaching staff really value Williams and the role he plays on offense. But, if Butler has overcome his inconsistencies, it’s going to be hard to keep him off the field. He can really add an entirely different dimension to the offense that has been missing.

  • Russ_Te

    In 2015 it seemed Butler just knew the deep routes and that’s how they used him. Then you could see he learned the rest of the playbook last year & was running shorter stuff, inside routes, etc. And showed he could make tough catches.

    So this is his year put it all together. He hasn’t earned starter yet, but he is an argument already for more spread sets & empty sets on long downs. Everyone will benefit if defenses have to deal with his size & speed.

    If you put him outside of Dez on the same side, now defenses have to choose whether their best CB moves inside, or if Dez gets their regular slot CB. After Butler notches a couple deep catches this year he’ll start to draw a FS over the top. Cha-ching for Dez underneath.

Star Blog

Can Jaylon Smith Challenge Vander Esch For Starting MIKE Role?

Kevin Brady

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In Season For Youth, Cowboys Must Make Tough Decision On Jaylon Smith

When the Dallas Cowboys selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the whole world basically assumed he would be the starting MIKE linebacker week one of the upcoming season.

After all, the Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens to free agency and none of the injury replacements had much success during the 2017 season.

Now just a couple of months shy of that week one match up with the Carolina Panthers, a battle for that middle linebacker spot appears to be occurring.

Former 2016 second round pick Jaylon Smith has seemed to find his health, and his movement skills and agility look like they did back when he was at Notre Dame. Whether or not these offseason hype videos will actually mean anything on the field remains to be seen, but just the fact that Smith is working out and playing without the knee brace is obviously a good sign.

Unlike Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith did play for the Dallas Cowboys a year ago. Sure Smith had his share of growing pains, but he seemed to find his groove late in the season. It probably isn't a coincidence, though, that Smith's best games came when coming off the bench in a limited role and when playing beside veteran Sean Lee.How Will LB Jaylon Smith Best be Utilized in 2018?

During the offseason activity thus far Jaylon Smith has gotten the majority of snaps at middle linebacker, but Vander Esch has also been sidelined with an injured ankle. Leighton Vander Esch clearly fits the mold of a MIKE both physically and athletically, but at his best Jaylon Smith does as well.

Despite the resurgence of Jaylon Smith and the injury to Leighton Vander Esch, I still do expect Vander Esch to snag that MIKE role moving forward. While showing glimpses of productive play, Smith did not impress enough to earn him the unquestioned starting job last season, and may best fit as a SAM backer and situational pass rusher/blitzer in the current scheme.

Allowing Jaylon Smith to conserve his energy and provide a boost off the bench is the best way for the Cowboys to structure their defense. Of course, this is only true as long as Vander Esch becomes the player they expect him to be, though.

If Jaylon Smith does return to the player he was at Notre Dame prior to his horrific injury, the Cowboys will possess three incredibly rangy, athletic, and talented linebackers on their roster.

Of course, that if is a very big if at this point, however.



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Star Blog

Will Cowboys’ Performance VS NFC South Define 2018 Season?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott Weighs in on Cowboys "Dak-Friendly" Offense Approach

When thinking about how the Cowboys' 2017 season came to an end the day before Christmas after a disappointing loss to the Seattle Seahawks, we often forget the team needed some extra help in order to get to the playoffs. The NFC was a tough conference to play in last year... but it will only be tougher in 2018.

The NFC is way stronger than the AFC right now, at least in terms of depth.

The Cowboys will be sharing a division with the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that only got stronger this offseason and will try to make a run for the NFC East title once again.

As good and promising as the Cowboys' roster is, it's only fair to admit that trying to get to the postseason this year might implicate running for a wildcard spot. Many teams will be fighting for a playoff berth late in the year but fortunately for Dallas, they will be able to control their destiny against a handful of this teams.

The Cowboys will play against the entire NFC South this season. Except for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, every team in the South division was fighting for a chance at January football heading into week 17.

The Saints, Falcons and Panthers all finished the season with double-digit wins last year, and there's little reason to believe they won't come back as strong as they were in 2017.

If the Cowboys are not able to beat the Eagles in the NFC East race, we'll be hearing about a lot of different playoff scenarios that will be needed in order to play in the postseason. Certainly, having the head-to-head advantage against the NFC South teams would go a long way, even if the team will play the Saints, Falcons and Panthers before December comes around.

If the Cowboys do manage to get back to their 2016-selves, no team in the league should be an "impossible" challenge for a powerful running-game based offense and a defense that can rush the passer consistently.

Of course, the NFC South is not the only challenging division in the conference. The NFC West will feature another three football teams that will be winning tons of games. The Rams, 49ers and Seahawks are all very likely to have winning records and be in the hunt once December comes around.

In a season that promises to be a "comeback" year for America's Team, the NFC promises to be a threatening conference from every direction. If the Cowboys will be able to overcome or not remains unknown and will stay that way until the season actually starts.

Tell me what you think about "Will Cowboys’ Performance VS NFC South Define 2018 Season?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: 3 Escenarios Para el Futuro de David Irving

Mauricio Rodriguez

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- David Irving, #95

En la NFL, la falta de noticias en Junio generalmente significa buenas noticias. Los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys saben esto mejor que nadie y en caso de que lo hayan olvidado, David Irving se aseguró de recordarle a Cowboys Nation el porque de esta frase.

La semana pasada, se anunció que David Irving recibirá una suspensión de cuatro partidos por haber violado la política de abuso de substancias de la liga. Es la segunda suspensión que Irving recibe en años consecutivos y lógicamente, esto es preocupante para el equipo de los Dallas Cowboys.

Las últimas dos temporadas hemos visto a Irving convertirse en una pieza de suma importancia para la defensiva. El año pasado, Irving consiguió siete sacks (capturas) en sólo ocho juegos y se convirtió en un caza cabezas muy efectivo.

Demostrando ser uno de los jugadores más talentosos de su posición en la NFL, es difícil imaginar el futuro del #95 en la liga. Tras recibir un tender de segunda ronda hace unos meses (explico que es eso aquí), el futuro de Irving es muy incierto. Por eso, esta semana en Cowboys en Español, exploraremos tres escenarios posibles para el defensivo de 24 años.

#1 David Irving se va de Dallas prematuramente

Hace unos días, me dediqué a defender mi posición de que los Cowboys estarían cometiendo un error al cortar a David Irving. A pesar de que realmente despedirse de un defensivo como Irving parece muy poco probable, es un escenario que debemos discutir.

Irving ha sido un dolor de cabeza para el equipo en más de una ocasión. Dos suspensiones en años consecutivos no es una buena imagen para un jugador que busca un contrato jugoso al terminar el año.

Si Jason Garrett y la administración quieren "dar un mensaje" cortando a David Irving, ¿qué tanto serviría? Esta idea de enviar un mensaje, a la hora de pensarlo fríamente, parece una idea romántica de parte de nosotros los fans. Al final de cuentas, estamos hablando de un locker room lleno de jugadores adultos y profesionales, no de un grupo de niños.

Además, bien sabemos todos que Irving no es el único Cowboy que ha tenido problemas. ¿Será el hecho de que ha ocurrido dos años seguidos razón suficiente para dejarlo ir? Personalmente, no lo creo. Los Cowboys dejarían ir a un jugador muy bueno en una posición de necesidad.

Datone Jones, Jihad Ward y Maliek Collins podrán ser suficiente. Pero David Irving es especial en el campo. Mejor tenerlo por 12 juegos a tenerlo cero.

#2 Irving se queda para el 2018, pero no más allá

David Irving recibió un contrato de un año que le pagaba (antes de ser suspendido) 2.91 millones de dólares. Si hubiera demostrado que no era problemático y que podía mantenerse al 100% toda la temporada, probablemente hubiera recibido un gran contrato de los Cowboys o de otro equipo en la NFL.

Sin embargo, el dicho lo dice todo. "En la NFL, la disponibilidad es la mejor habilidad." Irving no se ha terminado de ganar la confianza necesaria para una gran extensión.

En este punto, Dallas puede esperar a que su tackle defensivo regrese de su suspensión, juegue doce juegos con ellos y les consiga un sack por juego por menos de tres millones de dólares. Después de eso, el equipo pude darse el lujo de dejarlo ir sin una extensión y verlo convertirse en un agente libre.

Does DT David Irving Have a Future With Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys DT David Irving (Albert Pena / CSM)

#3 Irving se queda por más de un año

En este caso, hay dos "sub-escenarios." Suponiendo que, efectivamente, Irving regresa y juega como sabemos que puede hacerlo, no será tan fácil dejarlo ir. Si llega a sorprender y demuestra que realmente es quien creemos que es y consigue diez capturas en sólo doce juegos, ¿realmente no le dará el equipo una oportunidad?

La primera opción sería asignarle la etiqueta franquicia y obligarlo a jugar un año más para un equipo que busca desesperadamente un Super Bowl.

Si se sienten cómodos dándole el salario de una etiqueta franquicia para evitar perderlo, ¿podríamos culparlos después de que les dio por ejemplo, diez capturas? Yo, personalmente, no podría hacerlo.

La otra opción, y una que podría ser la más realista, es más simple. La inmadurez y los problemas de Irving le costarán la confianza y el interés de otros equipos y es posible que en un punto, Dallas sea el único equipo que le pueda brindar seguridad de trabajo.

De esta manera, Dallas podría ofrecerle una extensión de dos, tres o más años a un precio mucho más barato que el de cualquier DT que consiga dos dígitos de sacks.

✭✭✭✭✭

David Irving sin duda tiene un futuro incierto delante de él. Realmente sería una sorpresa verlo fuera de Dallas en el 2018, pero más allá, quien sabe lo que pueda pasar. Por ahora, esperemos que una vez que vuelva de la suspensión, esté en forma para ir detrás de los quarterbacks oponentes.

Con un poco de suerte, quizá nos olvidaremos de esto en Noviembre.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: 3 Escenarios Para el Futuro de David Irving" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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