A quick learner

In just 2 weeks, WR But­ler has ab­sorbed much of the play­book

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Sports - By Omar Kelly South Flor­ida Sun Sen­tinel On Twit­ter @omarkelly

DAVIE — Coach Adam Gase might want to have Brice But­ler give a tu­to­rial on how to learn the Mi­ami Dol­phins of­fense at an ac­cel­er­ated pace.

But­ler, a six-year vet­eran whom the Dol­phins signed dur­ing their bye week in No­vem­ber, only needed two weeks of prac­tice to know the Dol­phins’ play­book well enough to start last Sun­day’s 21-17 win over the Buf­falo Bills and con­trib­ute four re­cep­tions for 25 yards.

One of Gase’s main frus­tra­tions over the years has been how long it takes Mi­ami’s play­mak­ers to grasp his play­book, and But­ler down­loaded the ma­jor­ity of the of­fense in two weeks by draw­ing up in­dex cards, then study­ing them and quizzing him­self.

“I’ve never had

ahard time learn­ing of­fenses, foot­ball plays,” said But­ler, who has split his time in the NFL be­tween the Oak­land Raiders and Dal­las Cow­boys the past six sea­sons.

“My whole ca­reer I’ve pretty much been a guy who has picked stuff up quick. I’m just a quick, vis­ual learner. I see it a cou­ple of times, down­load it in my brain registry and I got it.”

That’s what helped But­ler take over Kenny Stills’ spot as Mi­ami’s start­ing flanker while Stills manned the slot po­si­tion last week be­cause of the knee in­jury that has side­lined Danny Amen­dola since the In­di­anapo­lis Colts game.

In­juries have sig­nif­i­cantly de­pleted Mi­ami’s re­ceiver unit this sea­son.

Al­bert Wil­son (hip) and Ja­keem Grant (leg) are al­ready on in­jured re­serve, and DeVante Parker (shoul­der) and Amen­dola are try­ing to play through their in­juries. That means play­ers such as But­ler are be­ing called on to fill the void, and Gase likes the size and speed But­ler brings to his of­fense.

What has im­pressed Gase the most is the fact But­ler, who has caught 77 passes for 1,022 yards and scored eight touch­downs dur­ing his ca­reer as a jour­ney­man, has be­gun to de­velop chem­istry with quar­ter­back Ryan Tan­nehill.

“They do a great job work­ing to­gether,” Gase said. “[But­ler] knows what to do, which is great. [We] just keep try­ing to get him to the point where he can play fast.

“He fits in with those other guys. The chem­istry with that group has come to­gether pretty quick, which is good to see be­cause I think that’s rare to get a guy in that fast.”

Two starters re­turn to prac­tice: Amen­dola, the Dol­phins’ start­ing slot re­ceiver, par­tic­i­pated in his first prac­tice since in­jur­ing his right knee in Mi­ami’s loss to the Colts.

Amen­dola, who leads the Dol­phins (6-6) with 48 re­cep­tions that he has turned into 469 yards and one touch­down, prac­ticed on a lim­ited ba­sis with the hope that he’ll even­tu­ally be cleared to play this Sun­day against his for­mer team, the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots (9-3).

Cen­ter Travis Swan­son, who missed the game against the Bills be­cause of a sprained an­kle he suf­fered against the Colts, also par­tic­i­pated in prac­tice. The Dol­phins are hop­ing he’ll be healthy enough to re­turn to the start­ing lineup, which would al­low Jake Bren­del to play left guard in­stead of Ted Larsen, who has been play­ing through a neck in­jury for the past month.

Bren­del had his prac­tice par­tic­i­pa­tion lim­ited be­cause of a knee in­jury he suf­fered against the Bills.

Also lim­ited dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice were cor­ner­back Cor­nell Arm­strong (knee), tail­back Kenyan Drake (shoul­der), and Parker (shoul­der).

Start­ing de­fen­sive end Cameron Wake was given a rest day, which is nor­mal for play­ers in their 30s un­der Gase. For ex­am­ple, 14-year vet­eran Frank Gore, the Dol­phins’ start­ing tail­back, sits out ev­ery Thurs­day prac­tice.

JOHN MC­CALL/SUN SEN­TINEL

Vet­eran re­ceiver Brice But­ler has learned a great deal of the Dol­phins of­fense in just two weeks with the team.

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