The Chargers have gotten a boost from strong play up front on defense. The entire front seven has been aggressive and creating turnovers, and arguably the best young player in that group has been third-year ILB Donald Butler.
The way we hear it, Butler is living up to the team’s expectation for him, which was to be an every-down linebacker this season — he hasn’t missed a defensive snap through four games. Butler has been flying around and making plays, and was rewarded with AFC Player of the Week Honors for Week when he recorded a pick-six against the Chiefs. He is second on the team with 29 tackles and two for a loss. Butler started every game last season, but left the field on passing downs. He missed all of 2010 with an Achilles injury.
Butler told reporters on Wednesday that he thinks his overall knowledge of the game has improved the most. “Last year I wasn’t on third down and this year I’m starting on third down and in our dime package. With that comes more responsibility and I think that’s helped me handle it,” he said.
Butler has two years left on his rookie deal, but we hear it would be a surprise if Butler got to his contract year without a new deal, especially considering his significant impact on the defense.