Notebook: Butler Not Happy with his Day
Getty Images-Rick Stewart
Getty Images-Rick Stewart
Star Ledger
Posted Oct 27, 2008


PITTSBURGH – The questioner mentioned a couple of big plays by James Butler in the Giants’ 21-14 victory over the Steelers yesterday.

But Butler was thinking about only one – a 65-yard touchdown to Nate Washington he surrendered the third quarter. “That’s the one I can’t get out of my head right now,” Butler said.

Okay, so we’ll start with that one. What happened that caused him to get spun once when the ball was thrown and again when he tried to tackle Washington?

“He was pushing at me, so I thought he was going to do a post route,” Butler said. “By the time I tried to turn, the ball was already gone. And he’s a fast dude, so I tried to make the tackle. But … I didn’t.”

It was a bad, bad play and it’ll likely be looped on the highlights today, which is part of why it was on Butler’s mind.

But to say that one play was indicative of his game yesterday would be inaccurate because Butler made a pair of key plays, including his first interception since Nov. 18 last year against the Lions.

Butler was lined up at linebacker depth and dropped 10 yards off the ball at the snap. He read Ben Roethlisberger’s eyes as he looked for Hines Ward on a slant to the left side (Butler’s right). Butler made a diving play to pick off the pass and started to return it, only to fumble after six yards. Cornerback Corey Webster alertly recovered the ball.

Again, Butler emphasized the negative.

“I had this little pad on my arm (over the biceps muscle),” Butler said, “and when it hit it, the ball popped out.” As for the excellent play he made on the ball, Butler said it was the result of a coverage that allows him to be aggressive underneath routes. The next play he made was due to a coverage that permits him to be aggressive over the top.

Butler “didn’t have any threats” in the form of receivers running deep while he played the deep middle, so he came up to hit Nate Washington as he caught a pass over the middle. the ball popped out and into the hands of rookie linebacker Bryan Kehl for his first interception.

So with Michael Johnson’s two interceptions last week against the 49ers and rookie Kenny Phillips’ interception to end the Steelers’ final drive, that makes five turnovers in two weeks created by the Giants safeties, who are perhaps the most underrated players on the team.

“As long as they talk about the defense, that’s fine with me,” Johnson said. “I don’t mind us not being talked about. You can do great things flying under the radar.”



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S James Butler (profile)
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