After going the first six games of the season without a punt of 50 yards or longer, Butler booted two that distance in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens. His third punt was blocked. His fourth went 38 yards.
But Butler responded in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns with two more punts of 50 yards each. Despite the recent increase in his distance, Butler was steadfast that nothing has changed either in his approach or his technique.
“Just trust my preparation,” Butler said. “Thankful for the patience these guys have had. Feels good to be back in the swing of things.”
Butler said the 50-yard punts were simply a product of a couple weeks of “great” practices. He had the sixth-highest average last week and the eighth-highest (48.8) the last two weeks.
“It’s not like I’ve been out there just putting around, so I feel good,” Butler said. “I’m confident and I like how I’m kicking right now.”
He’s ranked second in the league in punts taken over inside the 5-yard line, 13th inside the 10 and seventh inside the 20. Opposing offenses begin their drives around the 23-yard-line off of Butler’s punts -- about a two-yard difference from last year.
With Arizona heading into its bye week, Butler will have an opportunity to continue his run of 50-yard punts on national TV in two straight games. He said of the 22 punts before his first 50-yarder “situationally, some were good, some weren’t so good. But that’s football. There’s ebb and flow to the game.”
Butler is one-third of the way to the 12 punts of 50 yards or longer he had last season. If the streak he’s on now continues, he could put a dent in that total in the coming weeks.
“He’s working hard at it,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s a talented young guy. That’s why with a lot of his stuff we ask him to kick the sky balls and Aussie kicks to kick them inside the 20. HE can bomb it and we’ve been doing a better job of covering it.”