View Full Version : Defensive Coach's analysis on James Butler

09-24-2008, 10:49 AM
This coach was a DC I believe at Cornell at one time. Great defensive mind, and is a cool guy who I email back and forth. He gives me stuff what the giants are doing on defense, and I give him stuff on what we are doing on offense.

BBD this was the guy who had the great analysis on our LBs.

Ok, you all know how I feel about Butler. Here are some observations I've made throught he first 3 games. I saw 2 of the games this year with a wide screen hi def angle, and had the luxury of watching the safeties throughout the play. By the way, I've been asked to provide this, so if you think it's out of the blue, that's why. Feel free to flame, but don't bother talking about last year. That's not what this is about, and this year, he's been better and more consistent than Aaron Ross.

Butler has been our most consistent DB. Webster too, but Web hasn't been challenged much (speaks to his coverage skills) and Butler has had a lot of ground to cover. We all saw Housh catch a TD on him on Sunday. His coverage, though, was excellent. A perfect throw will always beat perfect coverage, Pierce wasn't deep enough in his drop, and housh made a great catch on top of it.

In man coverages, he is very communicative before the snap, so the CB on his side (often Dockery) knows whether or not there will be deep help. His coordination with the OLBs in terms of who picks up whom has been excellent. His pattern reads have been perfect.

In zone coverages, he spends equal time reading the patterns and reading the QB. On Dock's blown coverage when Spags chewed him out (cover 2) Butler saw the shoot and go and got to the sideline as fast as any safety in the league would. No safety would have gotten there. Immediately after the play, Butler told Dock what he did wrong (allowed the outside receiver the sideline), before Spags did the same.

Always aligning to passing strength, Butler often has a lot of ground to cover, and has been much more aggressive in jumping patterns this year than last year. He's not a free lancer, but he clearly does recognize formation and situational tendencies of the offense, so that no matter what coverage he's in, he will be in a position to first cover his own responsibility and still be able to help others.

In the run game, he has taken good angles, attacked big FBs and linemen with the correct shoulder, played his force responsibilities correctly, and hasn't missed a tackle he should have made. We all saw the hit on mcMichael. Last year he couldn't tackle, that's why we needed to draft Phillips, a guy who could bring the lumber. Then he couldn't cover, so we needed to draft Phillips, a ball hawk centerfield type. Then he was too slow, so Sammy Knight should start. Jesus guys. Take off the blinders. He's an excellent safety, he's still young, he was a triple jump champion for those that insist he's not an athlete (and he has the highest vertical on the team), despite his frame he is a very sure tackler.....and Kenny Phillips has been on the field every time we've given up a chunk of yards. By the way, our nickel package is really more of a dime package....Johnson moves up to play will, and KP plays FS. Most passing plays have been to Phillips side in those situations....mostly because he's still not accustomed to the speed of the NFL, and Butler is in good position to make a play on strongside throws.

Johnson has been less than stellar. Be thankful we have Butler calling the shots back there. As the season goes on, he will start to make a name for himself.

09-24-2008, 03:01 PM
No one's complaining about butler as a starter due to his brain, we all know he's a very smart guy out there who knows how to maximize his own play and how to help out his team-mates, but the problem is that while he's got good short area quickness and hops, he's just not fast enough in a straightline to really be a force back there. And while he's a solid starter, we're trying to establish ourselves as an elite team, that means being better than solid. I really wish he would take Johnson under his wing and teach him to break things down like he does, but alas Johnson's still not playing very smart despite his impressive physical abilities.

09-24-2008, 06:09 PM
See, while he makes very valid points about Butler, no one is arguing with his mental ability, or his run stuffing ability.

But you can just see his lack of athleticism out there. I admit he's been much better this year than last year, but he just can't cover. For all his mental ability, yes he diagnoses the play well but he's not athletic enough to cover it. So its a moot point. Ive heard excuses written about Roy Williams of Dallas too. Its all a moot point if you can't cover. I can know that Randy Moss is running a go route, but if I can't cover him it doesn't mean a damn thing.

And he makes a point thats somewhat inaccurate. He claims that most of our big plays come when Phillips is in the game, and at his side. Thats not true. When Phillips plays FS, we haven't given up a single bomb pass outside of a miracle catch by Torry Holt. Phillips is doing his job fine.

However in those same sets, Kevin Dockery and James Butler have been toasted. Phillips has been breaking off of his assignments and made plays in those areas.

Also, I disagree to an extent on Michael Johnson. Johnson has played FS in our base defense well, but he's terrible against the run and taking angles against the run. Thats where most of his miscues occur from my observations. But he is right that Johnson hasn't been great for us either.

As for Corey Webster, I definitely agree. Webster has been our best CB, and Ross hasn't been bad either. We are developing 2 stud CBs with those 2 guys. Our CB duo is the most underrated duo in the league.

I think I understand the point he was trying to make, that Butler isn't as terrible as we make him out to be, but I also think he was being generous in his assessment too.

Butler is simply the best option we have next to Kenny. That doesn't make him good, just the best option we have at SS. It speaks to me, moreso about our glaring hole at SS than his ability as a player.

09-24-2008, 06:11 PM
I haven't seen a Giants game yet but I was very impressed by Corey Webster and Aaron Ross last year.

09-24-2008, 10:18 PM

More on the original giants.com thread, fielding quesitons and such.