Victor Butler will certainly be tested this year.
And after four years of doing little but study, he’s grateful for the chance.
The new Saints outside linebacker might be his team’s best shot at a consistent pass rush this year, but he had few opportunities in the past. Stuck behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer in Dallas, Butler was a limited in what he was able to do.
“Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware are tremendous guys,” Butler said, via Nakia Hogan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “They are tremendous athletes, tremendous football players, great competitors and great pros. But it’s hard to get in the classroom and let somebody teach you Algebra II, and not let you do homework. You don’t get to take the test, you just get to talk.
“Now it’s an opportunity for me to get out there and apply what I learned from those guys on a real stage, not practice, not training camp. I get to get out in games and apply it and see how it goes.”
Butler had 11 sacks in four seasons with the Cowboys, playing strictly backup snaps. But while he’s technically competing for a starting job with Martez Wilson, his familiarity with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s scheme probably gives him a leg up.
“It’s very tight,” Butler said. “A competition is you put a guy with the ones and you see what he can do. Then you put this guy with the ones and you see what he can do. And whoever is the best and most productive player, that’s who gets the job. So it’s a good competition, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
It’s all he’s known in his NFL career, so he should. And with a contract that can void after one year, he knows he has a chance to put the numbers in his favor next season, if he finally performs well on the big test.