Brice Butler working hard to better his craft

The Oakland Raiders selected wide receiver Brice Butler in the seventh round (209th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft, looking for a playmaker and some extra depth in their receiving game.

In his rookie year, Butler was active for ten games, hauling in nine receptions for 103 yards. Butler started just two games, including a week three start against the Denver Broncos when he hauled in three receptions for 54 yards. Butler did show his explosiveness in week one of preseason when he hauled in a 40 yard touchdown reception from quarterback Matt McGloin.

The Raiders training camp isn’t even a week old, but the second-year wide receiver is happy to be back at work doing what he loves and knows he has a lot of work to do.

“I’m blessed with a great opportunity right now to come out here and play the sport that I love, on the biggest platform in the world,” Butler said. “Second year, a big learning curve from last year, so just going into this season with a full head of steam and ready to make some plays.”

Butler knows to treat his life on the football field more like a job after learning the ways around the NFL in his rookie year.

“I know what to expect and I know what the coaches want,” Butler said. “I know you have to be consistent daily – it’s a job; it’s not school. With a job, you have to come to work every day ready to perform. Now I just know everyday I have to come out here prepared to get to work and there’s no off days and every play you have to go 100 percent.”

Though camp began just last Friday, Butler was one of the receivers that met up with starting quarterback Matt Schaub to get some work in with his new quarterback. Butler knew it would be beneficial to get a jump start on building a connection with Schaub before reporting to Napa.

“As receivers, quarterbacks, you have to get the timing down and a lot of guys go home or wherever they live in the offseason to train, so it’s always good to come back a couple of days before training camp to just get some of that timing down before practice starts,” Butler said. “You know, it’s a little raw because you’re not out there with coaches and guys are getting their bodies going a little bit, they’re not trying to do too much since practice is just down the road. Just to go out there and get that relationship going with new quarterbacks is always good.”

Like fellow wide receiver James Jones, Butler is excited about the group of quarterbacks that will be throwing the ball to him and the receivers. In fact, Butler feels a connection with Schaub, rookie Derek Carr and Matt McGloin in one way or another.

“We’ve got some very good quarterbacks,” Butler said. “Matt Schaub has obviously been in the league for awhile. When I was in middle school he was playing for the Falcons and I was in Atlanta. When Mike Vick went down, he stepped in and did a great job. Derek Carr put up 700 yards of offense against me at San Diego State. And I watched Matt McGloin play ball at Penn State and he threw me some balls last year and made some good plays for the team.”

Getting together with Schaub wasn’t the only thing that Butler did in the offseason to help better his talent.

Butler, originally from Georgia, met up to train with some of the NFL’s best wide receivers in Bengals receiver A.J. Green and Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. Butler knew Green from before both of them went to college but just met Johnson about a month ago.

Butler, standing at 6-foot-3, says he learned a lot about coming out of breaks from two of the best, especially since they are both taller receivers as well.

“Just about getting in and out of breaks,” Butler said. “I mean, you’ve got a guy like Calvin Johnson who’s a physical freak but he’s very good coming out of his breaks for his size. You don’t really get many guys that are big that can get out of their breaks like that. A.J. Green is quick and he’s savvy, but he’s about 6’4 and a half. With those guys it’s about their footwork, being fundamentally sound, getting out of breaks, keeping your shoulders square, keeping your pads down since we’re tall guys.”

Butler has also picked the brains of the veterans on his own team in his young time with the Raiders.

“I’m talking to James [Jones] all of the time,” Butler said. “Any type of guy that’s been around for for awhile, is always good to take some of that wisdom from them, it’s never good to feel like you’ve got it on your own. Last year Charles Woodson had me going a little bit, you know we have all of these guys out here, you might as well take in their wisdom.”

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