Brice Butler was on Fox Sports with Skip Bayless and gave us a tell all about the Cowboys. Here's the transcript
Butler: I feel good about it. Could have been better. Like you said, it was a career high in yards, but it was really just because all my catches were down-the-field throws. As a receiver that is a route-runner, I feel like I could do more things in the offense, but my role was to be the deep-threat guy, the down-the-field guy. So I just had to embrace what they gave me as a role, and I had to do what I had to do.
Skip: Why, in your view, did you not play more?
Butler: I think in this league, when you think about the business aspect, you've got to follow the money trail. Both of our starters made money. Terrance [Williams] just got paid last year. So there were times where I was like, I'm making plays, aren't we trying to win games? Why am I not on the field? But that's the only thing that I can really think of.
Skip: Did you voice your frustrations to a coach or two?
Butler: Yeah I spoke to some coaches. And you know how coaches are when you play, they just say keep doing what you gotta do. Control what you can control. That's one thing that I try to focus on, just controlling what Brice Butler has to do. I feel like in 2016 I was thinking too much about what was going on and I didn't have as much of a consistent season as I wanted to. And this year I was trying to just focus on me, that's why the last game of the season, they don't really throw me in until the third quarter, throw me the ball, we make it happen. End of the game, catch the slant, make it happen. So I wasn't trying to focus on what this guy was doing, what that guy was doing, what this guy's talking about, who he's making a fuss about or whatever. I was just trying to focus on me.
On his future, and whether it's in Dallas
Colin Cowherd: Will you go back to Dallas if Dez is there?
Butler: With Dallas, the situation has to be right for me to go back. I have to be a starter. If I'm not starting, I'm not going back.
Skip: Given the opportunities that Dez Bryant was this season, could you have been more productive?
Butler: 100 percent. Because I'm ready. It's my time, I've been there for three years. I feel like me and Dak have a really good relationship. We work on routes. There's times that we might not have completed a square-out throw in practice, and we're taking that time out in practice to actually work on it. So I think that's why when you saw us in the game, he tried to come to me, and most of the times we produced.
Skip: Do you expect to be back in Dallas? Do you expect Dez to be back? What will your role be next year?
Butler: I don't know. I think the market for me will be a little bit better. So I'm definitely going to play the market. I wouldn't mind being back in Dallas, but there's going to have to be some changes made, and I'll definitely voice that with the team and the organization.
Skip: Is it fair to say this town isn't big enough for both you and Dez? Would he have to be gone for you to come back?
Butler: We'll see. I don't know. I mean Dez has been the guy there, so it's kind of unfair for me to say a guy like Dez has to be gone because he's 75-plus touchdowns there. He's done some stuff that I've dreamed of doing as a kid for an organization. It's unfair to say, but going into free agency, thinking about Dallas, there will be some things that I would have to know before anything [happens].
Shannon: But you want the opportunity?
Shannon: That's what you want. You're not saying X player has to be gone, or this. But you want the opportunity to show what you can do.
Butler: Exactly. That's it. You know how it is, if you're a guy getting 130 targets a season vs. a guy getting 30 targets a season, the only difference is the opportunity. Maybe the why could be different. Antonio Brown catches the most balls every year, and he's a beast now. But he gets the most targets. If I get 150 targets, I'm going to catch 100-plus balls.
Skip: Do you want to be a Cowboy next year?
Butler: I would love to be a Cowboy, but some things have to change.
Skip: What's your gut feeling where you are next year?
Butler: I don't know. I don't want to express on the air, but I have some thoughts. ... There's some teams that have some quarterbacks that throw the ball to some receivers.
Dez Bryant shade?
Shannon: I look at Dez Bryant and I've watched him a lot. ... Dez runs two routes, either an in-breaking route or a back-shoulder fade.
Shannon: So it makes it very easy to cover him because you don't have to worry about the speed out. You talked about how you missed a throw sometime in practice with Dak, and you'll work on it after.
Shannon: That's a timing throw. Some people, five steps roll to seven, some seven roll to nine, or whatever it is.
Shannon: You run the bang-8 - skinny post is what we called it back then - but the bang-8, outside foot up, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, bump's coming out.
Shannon: So if I'm playing Dez as a corner, I know he's breaking something in-breaking or he's running back-shoulder fade, because I'm not worried about him going over the top.
Butler: Right, right.
Shannon: Am I lying?
Butler: You're not.
Cowherd: Is part of going to Dez Bryant early in games a ploy for the Cowboys to keep him engaged?
Butler: I wouldn't say it's a thing to keep him engaged. Obviously every week you have a gameplan, and he's our marquee guy at receiver. So I don't think it's a trying to keep him engaged type of deal, it's just how the flow of the game is going early. He's a passionate guy, he's always been that way, unapologetic about it. And I won't want him to apologize for being passionate, because you need passion to play this game. Sometimes he sees things happening that he doesn't want to happen, and it's not always self-idolized or whatever. It's not always me, me me. He can probably just see the going like, if we keep calling plays like this or we keep doing this, we're not going to win this game. That's why sometimes you might see him going off on the sidelines early in the game. A lot of people think it's always him just being like, 'Get me the ball, get me the ball.' Most of the time -- I would say 70 percent of the time - it's 'I don't think we're doing the right stuff in the game.'
Cowherd: Yeah but that's what coaches are for.
Butler: Yeah. And like I said, he knows that. We have these conversations like, I don't agree with him all the time, but when you're in the game or whatever, you're not going to have an argument about that type of stuff. You talk about it during the week.
Cowherd: Dez wants to coach and play. And players should play and coaches should coach. That's my theory.
Butler: Yeah, I feel like when it comes to anybody on the football team that should have a lot of say-so of what happens for our offense or defense, it should be your middle linebacker or your quarterback. The guys calling the shots. Then you get some teams that might have a lifer like a Charles Woodson, a Jason Witten, guys that's been around the organization for a while that might have a little bit more say-so with things that happen. I would say it's typically your most vocal players are guys that have some type of impact on what's going on, your quarterback.
How players view Jerry Jones
Cowherd: Jerry Jones makes me laugh. I think he's funny.
Cowherd: Oh no, he's just crazy. When you're a Cowboy and you're around Jerry Jones, how do the players view him? Is he crazy? Do they love him? He treats players well right?
Butler: Yeah, yeah.
Cowherd: How do you guys view Jerry?
Butler: We look at Jerry like how I would say kids look at rappers. Like man, that dude is larger than life. For real, he flies a chopper to work and he lands it on our practice field. And sometimes he does it during practice. And some of you as a person, you'd be 'C'mon man, do you really have to do that?' but then the person in you is like, 'Man, I wish I could do that.' ... There's been a few times not during the season but a few times during OTAs where he'll come and we'll have to stop practice because when a helicopter comes, you have to move. And we'll be like daaaaaaaang.
Female co-host: Does he ever offer for you to use his chopper?
Butler: If you get near it, you might get kicked off the team.
Cowherd: So he's basically Jerry the rapper?
Butler: He's larger than life. Look at the Cowboys. It doesn't matter how good our season is, we're going to be on every TV show.
Critique of Cowboys offense
Butler: Our offense is a positive and a negative I feel because we have very talented players, we've got Cole Beasley, we've got Witten who's played for ever, we've got Dez Bryant, we've got Zeke. But the thing that a lot of us will say - every one of us will say - is that when they find what your strength is, they kind of just, that's what you do.
Shannon: So they put you in that box and you can't come out of it?
Butler: That's kind of what you do. For me for instance, I only ran verticals. I mean I ran other routes. You saw me run other routes, but really you only saw me run the vertical. And that's not because I couldn't.
Shannon: So a lot of Dez, all I'm saying he only runs in-breaking routes, is because OK he's good at in-breaking routes, he's good at back-shoulder fades and they haven't allowed him to expand, or Dez hasn't expanded himself?
Butler: I think it could be a mixture of both. Maybe they saw that earlier in his career he couldn't run a comeback, and then they just went away from it. When I got there with Tony in 2015, there were some things that Tony said, these are some routes that I'm not really looking at because we haven't success at these routes. Obviously I wasn't there up until that time, so he was telling me that with the guys that I had before, I wasn't throwing these routes.
Difference between Dak and Tony in the huddle
Butler: One guy was in the same offense and developed the offense for about 15 years, and the other guy kind of came into that offense that the other guy created.
Cowherd: And you could tell in the huddle that it was one guy, it was built for him, the other guys was 'Oh this is new?'
Butler: Oh yeah for sure. I mean he was a rookie when he got in it in 2016. So it definitely was new. Tony Romo was the guy that installed the plays during the meetings during the week. He talked about all that stuff. When I first got there, I had never seen nothing like that. When I left Oakland, Derek Carr was a second-year quarterback. He was a kid. And my rookie year was Terrelle Pryor, so you know he wasn't calling the plays. So when I first got to Dallas, when I saw all the input that Tony was telling us, I was like, 'Dang, this is crazy. The coach ain't really really coaching.' Because it was his offense. [Tony was like]: 'This is what we're gonna do, Brice this is what I need you to do. Dez, this is what I need you to do. When I see this, this is where I'm coming, so be ready.' I just remember it was 2015 and I'm like, 'Dang. I understand why the offense is so crazy.' Then fast forward, Tony was still doing it and he got hurt. Now it's Dak as the quarterback, now it's moreso offensive coordinator doing things. Dak is a rookie, Dak is a second-year player, he's still learning. He doesn't know the scriptures of the offense like Tony knew the scriptures of the offense.
Cowherd: One guys wrote the bible, one guy's reading it.
Butler: Yeah, and learning it so he can do it. The Cowboys organization will start making it more Dak-friendly or whatever, more stuff off the run, more play-action passing and stuff like that because that's his skill set. That's what he does well. He's a dual-threat quarterback.
Can you outrun Dez?
Skip: Is it fair to say at this point in your career for sure that you are faster than Dez Bryant?
Butler: Oh, I'm a 4.3 guy. There was never...
Shannon: A contest between you two?
Butler: He wouldn't even, yeah.
How Cowboys can help Dez
Butler: I think there's things, in all fairness, that they can do to help Dez get the ball. I think if they put him in the slot and move him around and get him some [looks] underneath. He's a physical receiver. I think he would [go with that], we actually spoke about that, and he said he would love to do it. It's a hard position, you've got to run some different routes, your feet have to be a little quicker than on the outside, you've got to be able to react because the nickel might jump outside once your run up on him. Things would change, but I think they could do some things to help him as well, though. He has a different way of expressing his feelings, so a lot of times he gets a bad rap or perception because of what you guys see on TV.
Skip: So you guys are cool?
Butler: Yeah, we have a good relationship, we talk about a lot of things. In the last few weeks of the season, he was speaking about that, and I what I said to him was, 'That's what Larry [Fitzgerald] did.' And Larry went from 80-90 balls outside to inside catching 110 again. Bruce Arians got there. I was like as long as you can work on that route tree in the slot within our offense, and our coaches could be creative in there, you can do it.
On Dak's ability
Butler: He has a good arm. He can make all the throws. [One play] this year, I was really like a clear-out against Arizona. He was rolling out to the right, and I was running a 9-ball, just clearing out for Terrance to get the ball. Terrance wasn't open, the underneath guy wasn't open. And I'm running down the field throwing my hand up, 'Just throw me the ball. Just throw it up.' Mind you at the time I'm 40-50 yards down the field and he's kind of like, vertically I'm right above him. He's not over there throwing this way. I'm right above him. And he just chucked it that way, same type of ball on the money. Bam, catch.