WR Brice Butler makes the game-winning touchdown catch. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Through the first two weeks of the preseason, WR Brice Butler is becoming a popular target for the trio of Raiders quarterbacks. After the matchups with the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, Butler is leading the team in receiving with eight receptions for 118 yards,* *including a 19-yard reception from Matt McGloin to secure the victory on Friday evening.
"That play wasn't designed for me," said Butler when asked about his game-winning catch. "It was designed for Greg Jenkins who was in on that play. It was a post route and I was supposed to clear the safety out of the play so the post can catch it out of the bunch of offensive linemen. I just kept running and I noticed it kept opening up… and that ball came out and I just caught it."
Over the past week or so, Butler has really started to make his presence felt, both on the practice field and now during games, but the San Diego State product is not growing complacent with his work.
"Just working," he said, when speaking about his mindset at this point of the exhibition season. "Every day I just get up and say, 'Let's get better today.' Guys like Derek [Carr], Matt [Schaub] and Matt [McGloin] are throwing me the ball and I'm just trying to catch it and be consistent and do whatever I need to do to make the team. "
Head Coach Dennis Allen has repeatedly referenced the depth of the Raiders receiving corps this season, and every slot is being hotly contested. With the competition remaining so fierce, Butler is simply focused on himself and performing to the best of his ability.
"I had a lot of stuff that happened to me in college," he said. "So the way I handle things now is I don't worry about what anybody else is doing and keep my kitchen clean which means go out and do what I'm supposed to do every day and my work will speak for itself."
As impressive as Butler has been through the first half of the preseason, he knows that it's more important for him to show up in Regular Season Week 1, once the bright lights come on and the results matter.
Butler is in familiar territory at the moment, as he led the team in receiving during the 2013 preseason, but didn't have the type of production he would have liked once the regular season rolled around.* *
"Last year I led the whole team in receiving the whole preseason and then last year I caught nine balls in the regular season," the second-year receiver said. "For me, it's just about building and building and being stronger throughout the season; not just having a couple good first couple of weeks now."
Brice Butler has had a very solid two weeks of work this preseason, but both he and Raider Nation are hoping he can continue this production throughout the rest of 2014 and make some positive additions to an already talented receiving corps.