December 23, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler (20) intercepts a pass and runs in for a touchdown in the first half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
After being cut loose by both the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, cornerback Darius Butler was a pretty low risk, potentially high reward pickup for the Indianapolis Colts last season. Butler turned out to be high reward and then some, picking off four passes. Two of those picks went for touchdowns, and came in road victories for the Colts.
Now slated for nickel CB duties with the addition of Greg Toler to the Indy secondary, Butler stood out at camp according to Kevin Bowen of Colts.com, who noted that Butler notched several interceptions in the first week of training camp.
This is extremely welcome news for the Colts, even if the picks are coming in shells and shorts. Indy’s defense was only able to come up with 15 turnovers all of last season, and Butler hopes to be part of a revival for the Colts on that side of the ball.
“We could be the best in the league if we come out, work every day, feed off each other,” Butler said of the Colts’ secondary. “We’ve got a lot of years back there at the safeties and me, Vontae (Davis) and Greg (Toler), we all came in in ‘09 and have been playing some good ball. The more we work together, the better we can play.”
Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has nothing but great things to say about Butler, who has become a key piece of the Colts’ secondary since joining the team during the bye week in 2012.
“You saw him last year do that. He did it a couple times in the first couple of practices we had,” Manusky said of Butler’s playmaking ability. “He has great ball skills. He’s competing just like all the other players are, but I love him.”
Coming out of UConn, there were some seriously high hopes for Butler as an NFL player. He looked like he might live up to the billing as a rookie with the Patriots, but he fell out of favor with the coaching staff and was cut after just two seasons with the team. Butler’s season with Carolina was less than impressive, and when he joined the Colts, it looked like a last-ditch effort to revive his career before he finally looked for some type of other work.
For whatever reason–perhaps the Luck that Ryan Grigson brought to the team (see what I did there?)–something clicked for Butler in Indianapolis.
In today’s NFL, the nickel cornerback position is more important than ever. Teams are stacking their offensive rosters with big time playmakers all over the place, and the Colts have to deal with some pretty elite quarterbacks year in and year out. This year is no different, and Butler is primed to play a huge role for the Colts’ secondary.