Something hiding under the radar this year, and isn’t talked about nearly enough, is Seattle’s 5’10” speedy receiver, Deon Butler. Don’t let his height fool you. When he gets the chance, he has the ability to really stretch the field – something the Seahawks’ offense lacked much of last season.
Butler, who is entering his sophomore season in the NFL, was selected with the 27th pick in the 3rd round (91 overall) during Jim Mora’s brief stint as the ‘Hawks head man. A product out of Penn State, Butler earned a nice reputation as a quality receiver who surpassed a familiar face, Bobby Engram, on Penn State’s all-time catch list with 179 receptions. Not only does he have reliable hands, but the man knows how to move the ball down the field. During his four-year collegiate career, he averaged 15.4 yards per catch, and accounted for 22 touchdowns – even with Penn State’s erratic quarterback play.
Since arriving to the NFL, Butler has only generated 15 receptions with 175 yards – which says very little about his game. Don’t believe me? New head coach, Pete Carroll, has publicly stated that Butler has “made more progress than anyone” since his new staff took over. He went on to note that “(Butler) is more disciplined about his route running.” “We know he’s really fast. He’s been a consistent catcher. He needs to be more physical,” Carroll said. He also indicated that Butler was “right in the middle” of the competition to start.
If many of you remember watching the Seahawks last season, which I soon hope to forget, Matt Hasselbeck was less worried about getting the ball into his receivers hands and more focused on surviving in the pocket. The offense was flat out ineffective, mainly due to poor protection on the front line. However, with a change in scenery, things are beginning to look up this season. With a new zone blocking scheme (under Alex Gibbs), offensive schemes (under new offensive coordinator, Jeremy Bates), and the addition of big-man rookie, Russell Okung on the offensive line – the offense has something to look forward to.