Cowboys: Can Brice Butler Be The New Laurent Robinson?


The broken foot sustained by wide receiver Dez Bryant has the Dallas Cowboys adding depth to a position that is going to be leaner for most of the season.

Of all the setbacks experienced by the Dallas Cowboys during last weekend’s season opener against the New York Giants, none was bigger than the loss of wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Expected to miss up to three months recovering from surgery to repair a fractured foot, the Cowboys have braced for the possibility that Bryant might not be available at all for the remainder of 2015.

Whether No.88 returns or not, a lot of football games will be played beginning Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Enter former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Brice Butler.

It’s a bit early to predict what kind of a role Butler will play in Bryant’s absence. Having just been acquired this week via trade, one would expect that the former USC Trojan and San Diego State Aztecs pass-catcher will need some time to absorb the Cowboys playbook and get acclimated to a new offense.

Assuming that this happens quickly, there might be something more to this development than we realize right now.

Remember when Laurent Robinson arrived at Valley Ranch?

Probably not, but I’ll bet you remember his departure.

This journeyman receiver of just four seasons at the time was an insurance policy for a wide receiver corps that wasn’t very deep.

Then second-year veteran Dez Bryant was still somewhat unproven as a primary target for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Behind Bryant was Miles Austin – and his unreliable hands and hamstrings – along with then rookie Dwayne Harris and then third-year vet Kevin Ogletree, who was rather underwhelming during his time in Dallas.

All Laurent did, after being released and then resigned in September of 2011, was earn the third wide receiver job en route to leading the Cowboys in touchdown receptions. Laurent scored 11 touchdowns on 54 catches for 858 yards – all career highs by a long shot.

Could Butler be in line for something similar?

With Bryant out, the deep passing game would seem to rest heavily on third-year veteran Terrance Williams, a completely capable top target for Romo and a likely No.1 receiver in the future.

But after Bryant things get pretty questionable, at least where that No.2 spot is concerned.

Cole Beasley is a No.3 wideout and nothing more. He’s really not an outside threat of any kind and certainly not a candidate to play more outside.

Devin Street, a second-year veteran out of Pittsburgh, doesn’t seem like the answer as a the No.2 receiver in the Dallas offense. I don’t doubt his capabilities down the road, but the owner of just two career receptions for 18 yards might be just a bit green for this gig.

Lucky Whitehead?

Probably not yet – maybe not ever while standing at just 5’9” and weighing in at about 170 pounds.

Yes, Butler looks like he could be the answer, at least if called upon. At 6’3” and around 215, he’s got the build and the speed to play wide receiver in the NFL and his college credentials seem to validate that idea.

No, his stats aren’t mind blowing or anything as he only has 30 career catches for 383 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

I’m one who believes that in a functional offense, unlike what he had in Oakland, Butler could takeoff much like Robinson did in a Cowboys offense that had a top-flight quarterback and a fantastic offensive line.

It would be tough for Butler to reach the numbers that Robinson did, and that’s really not what he’s needed for- at least as of right now. But you have to like the idea of landing a wide receiver with his skill set that posted an unofficial time of 4.36 in the 40-yard dash coming out of college.

With Dallas’ current group of receivers and a deep platoon of tight ends and running backs, there likely won’t be much need for Butler to catch almost a thousand yards in the air and a dozen touchdowns.

But what if?

Next: Cowboys: Where Is The Running Game?

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