Play 2: Alamo Bowl, 3rd quarter, 6:03 remaining, 1st & 10
What the offense is running: Crossing pattern out of the shotgun. The tight end and slot (Butler) perform deep crosses with the outside receiver going to the out and the back into the flat.
What the defense is running: Cover 3 zone.
What Hakeem Butler is tasked to do: Run a deep crossing route.
What happens: Are you serious? Actually serious? Hakeem Butler did that?! I know Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry was a target for the Cardinals, in large part for his catch radius, but, based off this play, Butler looks to be a solid consolation prize. That catch is seriously absurd.
With that being said, there are some positives to be made out before the catch. First off, Butler is running this from the slot, and he continues to prove to be a mismatch there. Second, it’s hard to see, but Butler does an excellent job of selling his route to get open. Notice when he leaves the frame that he bobs his head out, then in; this ultimately allows him inward leverage and causes the outside corner to stutter.
But seriously, he caught that? Like that?! That ball shouldn’t have been catchable. It’s also nice to see his domination didn’t stop with the catch. To continue the trend of embarrassing defensive back’s, Butler sheds the man he put a poster on and finishes with power. This is my favorite play from him.
- If Butler can fix his drop issue (more on that later), the Cardinals might’ve found their “go up and get it” guy. As this clip proves, Butler has an absurd catch radius and has the vertical to make his height that much more unfair. This naturally makes him a red-zone threat, particularly on fades.
- I expect Butler to see most of his time on the outside, but it’s nice seeing familiarity and success as a slot receiver. He should see some snaps there due to the mismatch opportunities.
- Good effort to set up leverage running the post route, his head fake is subtle, but it shows his progress as a nuanced route runner.
- He caught that?!