Ask someone close to the Cowboys to give you a good candidate for a breakout season in 2011, and Victor Butler’s name is bound to come up sooner than later. Butler carried an impressive training camp into the team’s preseason opener last Thursday, recording four tackles, three solo, and narrowly missing a sack of the Broncos’ Tim Tebow.
Last season, Butler notched 24 tackles, a pair of sacks and a forced fumble--an alright year, but nothing to seriously challenge the starting job of Anthony Spencer, opposite DeMarcus Ware. Now, many believe that this is a real possibility, which is less a criticism of Spencer (though some could certainly be justified) and more a statement on the kind of showing Butler has had this preseason.
One of the greatest differences between this year and last, according to Butler, is the presence of Rob Ryan-under whom Butler has a more defined role.
“The main difference with Wade [Phillips] was I didn't really know what my role was,” Butler said recently on ESPN Radio 103.3. “I felt I was just kind of out there, a special teams guy. Didn't really play much, didn't really know where I fit in.
"With Rob [Ryan] and another year under my belt, guys like [DeMarcus] Ware and Anthony Spencer and Bradie James just told me, 'Hey we expect big play out of you, we want to win games, we've got all the tools to do it and we want you to be a part of it ... and with the ability that you have, we need you to step up.'"
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