Cassius Vaughn doesn’t consider Calvin Johnson the ‘ideal receiver.’
No, that praise would be selling Johnson short.
Instead, Vaughn uses another term to describe the 6-foot-5-inches, 236-pound Johnson.
“No, the ideal receivers are the other guys. Calvin is a ‘freak of nature.’ He’s the total package,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn and the Colts secondary will try and limit the league’s leading receiver at 1,257 yards.
Johnson is averaging 114.3 receiving yards per game and is looking for his fifth straight game over 100 receiving yards.
“(Johnson) brings everything,” cornerback Darius Butler said. “If you want to go create a receiver on Madden that’s going to look like Calvin Johnson. He brings everything to the table so we are going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Last season, Johnson and the Lions ended a playoff drought dating back to 1999 with a 10-6 record and an appearance in the NFC Wild Card.
At 4-7, Johnson acknowledged that this season hasn’t gone as planned but heading into the final month of the season the Lions mindset remains the same.
“Guys are still pushing. That hasn’t changed here in practice or anything like that,” Johnson said. “That’s the thing I like about what’s going on right now. Even though, we are not where we thought we should be at right now, at this point of the season, guys are still working their butts off.”
The Colts defensive backs weren’t afraid to share their praise of Johnson and the All-Pro receiver appreciated the kind words from the guys he will line up across from Sunday.
“You play to be the best. You play to win the Super Bowl. You play to compete,” Johnson said. “If you do that and you’re taken seriously, and find something to work on day-in-and-day-out than you can achieve that.”
In trying to defend Johnson, the Colts secondary is hoping to get the services of cornerback Vontae Davis back this weekend.
Davis has been on the sideline for the past four weeks and with him and Jerraud Powers out of the lineup, it’s been Vaughn and Butler filling the void.
No matter who the Colts place in the backend of the defense on Sunday, trying to neutralize Johnson is a gargantuan task.
“You just have to be on your Ps and Qs, your fundamentals and techniques,” Butler said. “Obviously (Johnson) has a size mismatch on pretty much every (defensive back) out there but you just have to put yourself in a position to make a play on the ball.”
Tags: Cassisu Vaughn, darius butler, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
Darius Butler sat and watched, waiting for that call.
After being cut by the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 31, Butler found himself every Sunday watching NFL games.
It took three weeks, but that call eventually came from the Indianapolis Colts.
“I spent some time with my family and obviously calling my agent everyday, every time I saw a guy go down or somebody get hurt or released. You just keep your eye on it because you want to play so bad,” Butler said on the ‘Pagano Show’ on Monday night
“Watching those games, it kind of re-lit a fire under my butt. I felt whenever I got my chance, I was going to do whatever it took to take full advantage of it.”
Butler has done more than take advantage of the opportunity, recording three takeaways in his first start last Thursday against the Jaguars.
His third quarter interception returned for a touchdown gave the Colts a 21-3 lead and helped keep the momentum with the visitors.
“On that play I kind of anticipated the play, because of the formation that I got,” Butler said of the 11-yard interception return. “Once I read it, I took a chance on it and made a play.”
He added a game-clinching fourth quarter interception after a Chad Henne pass caromed off a couple Colts defenders.
Butler joined the Colts following a Week 3 loss to the Jaguars in which the Colts gave up an 80-yard touchdown in the game’s waning minutes.
When Butler walked into the locker room the following week, he was greeted by college teammates from Connecticut in running back Donald Brown and linebacker Scott Lutrus.
But it was also the guys in his position group that has made it a smooth transition for the fourth-year pro.
“From the first day I got there, guys kind of took me in and helped me out. Guys like (Antoine) Bethea and (Tom) Zbikowski and (Jerraud) Powers just kind of giving me the nuances of the defense. I feel comfortable right now,” Butler said.
It will be a bit of homecoming this weekend for Butler as he was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
He played 29 games in his two seasons with New England before being cut during the first month of the 2011 regular season.
With Powers being placed on injured reserve on Monday afternoon, the starting spot is Butler’s and he is more than grateful for it.
“This is my fourth year and you only get so many chances, especially on this level with so many guys in and out every year,” Butler said. “It’s rare you get two opportunities so I’m blessed to get another opportunity here with the Colts and I’m trying to make the best of it.”
Tags: antoine bethea, darius butler, jerraud powers, tom zbikowski
Posted in Colts Blog
As Darius Butler walked into the Colts locker room on Tuesday afternoon he quickly realized he was on the other side of the rivalry.
Butler, the Colts newly signed cornerback, comes to the Indianapolis after playing his first two NFL seasons (2009-2010) with the New England Patriots.
“It’s a great organization,” Butler said of his new team. “I played against this team every year. This is a big rivalry. It’s a great organization and I’m real happy to be a part of it.”
Last season, Butler played for the Carolina Panthers and has been ready for the chance to get back on the playing field after being cut on August 31.
He comes to the Colts during a time where the cornerback position is going through some injuries.
Head coach Chuck Pagano said on Monday that cornerbacks Vontae Davis (ankle) and Justin King (groin) would be week-to-week.
Butler isn’t sure where he will fit at the cornerback position but is anxious for another opportunity.
“They are kind of feeling me out, just like I’m kind of feeling them out,” Butler said. “We’ll know pretty quickly where they want me to help, where they think it’s best for me to help out. I’m ready to come in here and do whatever they need to do to help the team.”
During his 2009 season with the Patriots, Butler made seven tackles in a reserve role against the Colts.
The new scheme the Colts have implemented in the defensive backfield is something that has Butler intrigued.
“I definitely think it fits me well,” Butler said of the scheme. “It’s just pretty much picking up new terminology. Once I pick that up, I can play faster and think faster.”
Walking into the locker room, Butler did see a pair of former teammates from Connecticut in running back Donald Brown and linebacker Scott Lutrus.
Butler played in 42 career games at Connecticut and was a two-time captain for the Huskies.
He comes into a bye week for the Colts which should speed up the learning process, with the next game not until Oct. 7.
“I’m sure it will help me out mentally, getting the hang of things, getting used to the scheme and program,” Butler said. “Physically, I want to get out there. I’ve had enough bye weeks this year. I would like to get out there this Sunday but it’ll be good to get used to the new surroundings.”
Tags: darius butler, Justin King, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today signed cornerback Darius Butler and released guard Trai Essex.
Butler, 5-10, 185 pounds, has appeared in 42 career games (14 starts) and has registered 89 tackles (81 solo), 21 passes defensed, three interceptions and one forced fumble. He was originally selected by the New England Patriots in the second round (41st overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. With the Patriots, Butler played in a total of 29 games, making eight starts. He recorded 58 tackles (55 solo), 14 passes defensed, three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown and one fumble recovery. He was waived by the Patriots on September 7, 2011 and claimed by the Carolina Panthers a day later.
With the Panthers last year, Butler tallied 31 tackles (26 solo) and seven passes defensed in 13 games played (six starts). He was waived by the Panthers prior to the start of the regular season on August 31, 2012.
Butler played four years at the University of Connecticut, starting all 45 games he played in. For his college career, he totaled 180 tackles, 26 passes defensed, 10 interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and three forced fumbles.
Essex appeared in two games with the Colts this season. Over his eight-year career, he has competed in 78 games, making 28 starts.
Tags: darius butler, roster move, Trai Essex
Posted in Colts Blog