Getting production out of the tight end position has been a slow process, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the Denver Broncos.
The tight end position has been a problem area for the Denver Broncos in the past, but lately, that has not been the case. The best “Case” scenario for the players at that position has been with Keenum at quarterback.
Case Keenum has dealt with his share of adversity this season, but he’s got a new security blanket in Denver. Keenum knows when he calls Jake Butt’s number, the tight end will make a play.
According to Pro Football Focus, Butt has yet to register a drop so far this season. Let’s put this in perspective.
On the season, Butt has eight total receptions in three games. That’s not enough to say the zero in the drops column is a staggering number, but it does bode well for showing Butt’s reliability.
In both of the Denver Broncos’ game-winning drives or in the second half of games, Keenum will find Butt on a key third down when the team needs to move the ball. His 85-yards receiving are nothing to write home about.
However, do consider this for a moment:
Butt’s eight receptions this season are already nearly half as many as the team’s leading receiver at tight end last season, A.J. Derby, who had 19 catches in less than a full season with Denver.
Butt is almost halfway there in terms of the number of catches that led the team at the position a season ago, and already this season, Keenum is showing more faith in Butt than any other tight end since Julius Thomas was catching passes from Peyton Manning.
Furthermore, Butt is closing in on 100 receiving yards this season. He needs just 15 yards (which he will likely get in the team’s game against Kansas City). Derby had 75 yards through four weeks last season, so Butt is clearly on pace to completely wipe away a horrid season for Denver tight ends a year ago.
This further proves the Denver Broncos need their tight end to be a weapon in the passing game. Butt only had eight yards against the Baltimore Ravens. With the Denver Broncos facing a defense in the Kansas City Chiefs ranked near the bottom of the NFL, he’s likely to see more touches.
This is where Denver needs to utilize all weapons on Monday night. Butt is a better threat in the passing game than AJ Derby, obviously, which is why the team wanted to get him on the field as a rookie despite his ACL injury.
Expect the team to show Butt some more love Monday night.
None of this should come as a surprise either. We all know how the story ended with Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator in 2017. He made some comments I keep coming back to.
"“You wish every rookie had his mindset. Everybody’s different, but he’s different.”“He lives here. He’s here all the time watching film and doing extra things with [Tight Ends Coach] Geep [Chryst] up in the meeting rooms and asking questions all the time.”Mike McCoy (quotes via Denver Broncos PR)"
It’s not a surprise Butt is proving himself to Keenum. Ever since training camp last year, Butt has been one of the first and last players to enter/leave a practice field. This work ethic rubs off positively to teammates.
Fast forward to 2018, where Butt is living up to some of the lofty Jason Witten comparisons early on in Denver. Throughout Witten’s career, he was Tony Romo’s favorite target in crunch time.
Already in 2018, Butt is seeing glimpses that he can be that player early in his second season.
If Butt is becoming this reliable in his redshirt rookie season, then the Denver Broncos can expect huge results from him moving forward.
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