Butler talks LB Situation as Whole & Key players on D-Line
Linebackers coach Keith Butler spoke Saturday about a wide range of current players on the roster such as Jarvis Jones, Sean Spence, Stevenson Sylvester, LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds, Cam Heyward and Ziggy Hood.
Of that group, Butler isn’t counting on Spence for 2013.
“It would be gravy, Butler said, if Spence ever gets on the field.”
“I hope it’s gravy, I really do, because he’s a great kid,” Butler said. “He’s a very intelligent football player, but he’s going to provide some intangibles in our locker room that we desperately need, I think. So, we’re going to ride with him for another year, I think.
“And, hopefully, his knee will respond and he can play again. It would be miraculous if he does come back (this year), and it would be miraculous if he comes back next year. So, we’re going to take a chance on him and see if he can come back, but to me he’s worked every bit of that.”
Butler also said, quite frankly, that this would be a make or break season for Sylvester after two lackluster years with the team.
“He knows that, and it’s something that I talked with him about after the season,” Butler said. “And I talked with all of them about that. It doesn’t matter the reason that you’re not on the field. If you’re hurt like LaMarr Woodley, who was hurt, but it doesn’t matter why you’re standing beside me on the sideline. We have to remedy whatever that reason was, and it’s the same with Sly.
“We need to have guys who are available and ready to play. … (Woodley) has got to be on the field, and when he was people were getting the ball out on him. I talked about that, too. We’ve got to do the things that it takes for him to get on the field, and part of that is to make sure that his hamstrings are in the top shape for him to play a solid year and not miss any time.”
Butler also addressed the defensive line.
“Aaron Smith was a big loss, in my opinion, so we’ve got to be able to fill that void, and I think we will because we’ve got a couple of guys who are coming on,” Butler said. “Cam Heyward is coming on pretty good, and Ziggy Hood has got some technical stuff that John (D-line coach Mitchell) has got to work with him on, and John knows that. So, we’re going to try to get those things worked out, and hopefully we’ll be good against the run.
“But we’ve got to be better at linebacker, too. Jason Worilds should be a lot better than he was last year. Everybody has talked about Jarvis coming in and starting his first year, but we’ve never started a linebacker his first year. Jones has a wealth of talent, but … he’s not going to come in and be given the position. Jason is the next guy up, and I expect him to be better than he ever has been. So, he has to step up this season.”