Brice Butler isn’t Dez Bryant. He knows that.
But Butler is ready to try his best to fill Bryant’s cleats as long as the All-Pro receiver is out.
“Dez is Dez. He is a monster,” Butler said. “But I feel like I can produce. I’m a big dude. I’ve got speed. I can catch the ball with my hands. I can get in and out of my routes. I’m ready.”
Bryant was diagnosed with a hairline fracture of the tibia in his right knee and could miss up to three weeks, according to sources. Butler, 26, has played 77 offensive snaps this season, but quarterback Dak Prescott has targeted him only four times.
Butler has only one catch for 16 yards.
The Cowboys, though, insist they have confidence in Butler.
“I trust him in one-on-one situations,” Prescott said. “He did a great job in preseason. He did a good job all camp. It’s been the motto of this
team just step up when someone goes down. I think Brice will do his
Butler joined the Cowboys in a trade with Oakland last season after Bryant was injured in the 2015 opener against the New York Giants. He showed his explosiveness in a Week 4 game against New Orleans when he caught a 67-yard pass, but he injured his hamstring on the play.
Butler finished the year with 12 catches for 258 yards.
“Yeah, you feel more confident,” Butler said of having a year in the Cowboys’ offense. “Before, I didn’t really know the offense. They are not confident, so you are just running certain plays. I played it all training camp, and I made a lot of plays. They are not thinking I’m limited. I’m ready.”
Garrett agreed that Butler has grown since last year.
“I think he grew as a player, and had a very good off-season and did some good things in preseason,” Garrett said. “So he’s a capable guy. He’s able to stretch the field vertically. We’ve seen that. He’s made some big plays down the field. He’s a good route runner. I just think he’s grown as a player with the experience that he’s gotten.”
The Cowboys have also grown as a team. Hope was in short supply last year in the locker room when the Cowboys played without Romo and Bryant. That is not the case now, Butler said.
“Last year people were like crying almost,” Butler said. “Nobody is batting an eye this year.”