Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Victor Butler (57) in action against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Butler Injury could improve Saints Pass Rush

The devastating news that newly acquired outside linebacker Victor Butler tore his ACL on the last week of organized team activities, might have Saints fans saying, “Here we go again.”

Wait just a second on changing the team’s playoff predictions because of a single player. Adversity breeds opportunity and Butler’s injury may turn out to be one of the best things to happen to this Saints defense.

The Saints and Rob Ryan were not pinning their hopes of a great 3-4 defense on Victor Butler. His contract was for three million dollars over two years. That is not exactly cornerstone-of-the-defense type money.

He’s had a somewhat under-impressive career with Dallas and has had problems with consistent performance. The best thing he had going for him heading into the off-season was the familiarity with Rob Ryan’s defense.

If he is gone for the season as many expect, he’ll have the opportunity to help the other defensive players in grasping the scheme rather than competing for a spot in it. That could prove the difference in the overall quality of the defensive play going forward.

Despite having a small amount of cap this off-season, the New Orleans have tremendous depth and talent at the linebacker position to replace Butler.

(Disclaimer: There is slightly annoying music with this video)

Martez Wilson will almost assuredly be favored to take over Butler’s position at strong-side linebacker. Will Smith and Junior Galette have been reportedly worked out at the jack position (play-making linebacker spot in the 3-4 defense) so expect that competition to stay intense.

The injury may also open up an opportunity for some of the young rookie linebackers like Rufus Johnson, Chase Thomas, and Kevin Riddick. Victor Butler will have to wait another year to physically compete in the NFL, but he can mentally assist the defense to live up to it’s potential.

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Tags: 3-4 Defense New Orleans Saints Victor Butler

  • Leslie Korshak

    Okay fellas, now listen up…. I know y’all need to talk stats and rankings and plays and calls – but this is 2013 – 13, our number… we have our ‘Sainted’ Coach back, the world’s greatest Quarterback leading the most awesome team of guys from Marie Laveau’s magic city and are about to geaux marching through this season as never before… ACL’s or Go-To-Hells, We’re THE WHO DAT NATION and we rule!
    Geaux Saints!

  • Al Martin

    Why put Will Smith at the Jack position if his sack number have gone down year after year?

    • Ian-Mitchell Dear

      Not sure about that one. In my opinion it seems like the Saints are trying to get what they can out of Will Smith since he is in the last year of his contract. I’m not seeing him making too many plays at the Jack position.

  • Mark L

    I’m sad the guy got hurt, but Martez Wilson was going to win the position anyway. He’s silly fast around the edge and athletic enough to cover a tight end. Butler wasn’t an every down player..

    • Ian-Mitchell Dear

      I totally agree Mark! Wilson has always been the right player in the wrong system for the Saints since they acquired him and I believe he will be a household name by the end of the season!

  • Ej White

    If the coaching staff is smart, Martez Wilson should play the jack position. Athletically, speed and strength wise makes sense. When blitzing most RBs wouldn’t be able to block him. His speed would enable him to cover backs, while his strength would allow him to set the edge. Gillette or Rufus Johnson should be the strong-side OLB.