Position battle: Victor Butler brings it

SAN ANTONIO – Victor Butler looked like he belonged when he worked with the starting defense while Anthony Spencer rested his sore Achilles tendon.

“Victor Butler had an outstanding day,” Wade Phillips said. “He’s been doing a lot of good things. He started out slow, but the last four or five practices, he’s really practiced well.”

Spencer’s starting job certainly isn’t in any jeopardy. The Cowboys expect him to continue his dominance from the second half of the season and emerge as a Pro Bowler.

But Butler is battling for playing time with fellow 2009 fourth-round pick Brandon Williams. After the first few days of camp, Williams’ burst off the line of scrimmage got a lot of buzz. Butler, who had three sacks in limited time last season, seems to have made up ground.

Phillips, who was harsh in his public evaluations of Butler last season, raved about Butler’s improved pass-rushing technique. He said Butler has learned a move to counter his speed rush.

Williams and Butler are both expected to contribute on special teams. With DeMarcus Ware and Spencer entrenched as starters, there will probably be enough snaps for only one to have a role on defense.