Robb Butler Chargers Camp Diary VI

When I first stepped out there against the Colts, it was – ‘Wow'. Now the game has slowed down. I am getting acclimated to the speed. It's fun. I have gotten to the point where I can say I am having fun. The people always talk about the hard work and the business side of the game, when you are out there doing something you have been doing since you were seven…

You can just have fun. You get in that zone and you stay in that zone.

Kwamie (Lassiter) told the whole secondary unit:

‘Don't let anyone take the fun out of the game.' That is the best advice he could ever give. ‘Don't let anyone ever take the fun of the game and don't ever let any one coach take your confidence. One coach may think you can't play. Trust me – there are 31 other teams out there – somebody is going to think you can play.'

The most memorable play for me, unfortunately, would have to be game one when they scored the touchdown with six seconds left on the clock. We were in a zone defense and I had only one vertical threat. There were two threats, but one immediate threat. They let the tight end go up the seam and ran the post. I had to choose between him and the guy running the wheel route going down the sideline. He was the most dangerous.

I played the defense according to how the defense was drawn up in our playbook and the way I was coached to play it. That is being a robot, being fundamentally sound doing what your coaches tell you. At some point, you have to be an athlete. And at some point you have to use your noodle. Ok, there is nobody else out here who could possibly help out, except me, and cover it. I know that if I had been loose or confident enough to do my own thing, so to speak, and just be a football player, then I would have made the play and the guy would have never caught the ball.

I keep looking back on that.

(The coaches) didn't say anything. They know the coverage and I was kind of in a bind. The coaches know what they taught us. You can't teach a guy one thing one day and then the next day say, ‘well, you should have done this.'

Coach Stew watched the play and said, ‘you are kind of (screwed) on this one.' Then he said, ‘then again if you are looking at the picture and you are the only guy we have that can help on this route…it is definitely the cover-2 beater. It was a cover-2 beater route. Post route in the cover-2.

That kind of gave me the confidence that if I was ever by myself in the scenario where one dude, or two threats to the zone, if I took the most dangerous that I wouldn't get in trouble. Next time that happens, I am going to take the most dangerous. If they happen to throw the ball to the wheel route, my defense will be, ‘hey, there was no one else in the area to cover the post so I didn't take the wheel route.' Our landmark is supposed to be three yards inside number one. I would have been ten yards away from the post. At least I got a hand on the ball. If I would have played it true, to the book, which I was trying to, I would have been further away than I was.

I know my coach, coach Stew, is the type of guy that would cover for me. If I do cover the post and they throw to the wheel and they score, he is the type of guy who will cover for me. He will say, ‘first game against Indianapolis I told him to go to the most dangerous.' Knowing that you have a coach that tells you to do something and something big happens as a result of something he told you to do, he is going to stick up for you and say he told you to do that. I like that. Some coaches won't do that.

There were some other plays where I really could have taken someone's helmet off, little things but I get better every week and that is the big thing.

Opened up the game with a special teams tackle against Arizona

That is a true statement. That got me going right there. After that, I was a little excited.

I know it is preseason. And again, I may just be a naïve rookie, but I think we are better than a lot of people think we are. Maybe it is just me but I think we are better than a lot of people give us credit for. I understand that we have to earn it and that is not a problem. We have a pretty darn good team.

They had their first unit out there with us rookies. I got to play against the number ones and I wasn't impressed. Fitz was out and Anquan was out. It's crazy how you have two or three good receivers and there is a huge drop off after that. You would think everyone would be good. At least good.

Another late touchdown in Arizona

That was the same defense that we were playing against the Colts. And they called – it wasn't the exact same play, but the same route. He ran a post. I think Flo went to the ball and just missed it. Hanik was the safety on that side and I was on the back side. They got one in there on us. There is no excuse.

Coach Marty was screaming at us from the sidelines, ‘Finish! Finish! You have got to finish!'

We were beating the (heck) out of them. You don't want them to score! We talked about corrections and the things that we must do to be a better secondary and it is about touchdowns in the red zone. We have to stop giving up points in the air. Tired or not – I was dog tired – but that is no excuse. When we get down there…

It was hot. Being on special teams and we are on the kickoff team and we run down and somebody goes offsides. I sprint down there, we get a flag – bring it back. Do it again. That happened twice. It happened two times in the game! That is an all out sprint and you have to come back and do it again. You didn't catch a breath yet. You do it again and then you go on defense and you play the whole series. If you don't get a three and out…even if you do then you are on the punt return team so you are still out there! Then you have to cover the gunner and you finally get a rest when the offense comes out. Then you pray they keep the ball three minutes at least. If they go three and out you have to go back out there on the punt team, cover the punt and go back on defense again!

It's fun. If we look back, most of us, in high school did the same thing. We played offense, defense, every phase of special teams. I returned kicks, punts, played receiver, cornerback. Now it seems like, wow! We just need to go back to being a kid. Get back to playing football.

Cut day is around the corner

I think I am improving. I hope I have proved myself valuable. Our special teams kicked butt. Give our special teams a round of applause. Plays of the week, we were on there twice on ESPN. Excellent job.

I think that I have proved to be an asset to this family and this organization. There is so much potential at safety. Being able to play strong safety and I moved to free safety this week. I played strong safety the first week and moved to free safety this week. Being able to play both. Played it well. No deep balls. No deep balls and on special teams – I think they should keep this kid.

Having that athletic ability and talent – I think it should be hard for them to let me go.

Robb Butler is a safety with the San Diego Chargers, joins periodically to give his take on training camp and just about anything that pops into his head.

Previous Diary Entries:

Robb Butler Diary V
Robb Butler Diary IV
Former Coach Joe Walton on Robb Butler
Robb Butler Diary III
Robb Butler Diary II
Robb Butler Diary I
Robb Butler Interview

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