Letters To LeRoy Butler

041123henderson_a.jpg



Everyone in Green Bay and Wisconsin knows that William Henderson is one heck of a fullback, but it seems that his talent isn't recognized around the league. He is having a terrific year so far, not only on offense, but on special teams as well. It seems that when William Henderson hits someone, they go down with force! And who knew that he was such a great hurdler? He has been named a Pro Bowl Alternate in past years, what do you think his chances are of going as a starter this year? - Linda (Fond du Lac, WI)

The reason why William hasn't been to the Pro Bowl in the past is that everyone voted for Mike Alstott (who's not really even a true fullback) because it was a popularity contest. There is no fullback in the league that is more valuable to his team than William Henderson.

He catches passes, he makes pancake blocks, and he's one of the leading tacklers on special teams. He's the first guy down there covering kicks. This guy is in his 30s and he's beating 23-year-old guys down the field to cover kickoffs and making the play.

The unique thing about him is, he could probably make the Pro Bowl as a special teams player or a fullback, so you guys need to make sure you vote to make sure he gets to the Pro Bowl. Vote especially for William and for Javon Walker and for Donald Driver, Brett Favre and Ahman Green. These guys are very deserving of a trip to Hawaii for the All-Star game.

Hey what's up, Leroy! I can honestly say that you were easily one of the most versatile defensive backs this league has ever seen. I wanted to ask you: Who do you think is the most versatile defensive back today and why? - Sean (Red Bluff, CA)

I would have to say the most versatile DB playing today is Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens. This guy makes plays every week.

He is a strong safety who is always down in the box on eight-man fronts stopping the run. On third downs, he covers one of the opponents' top receivers and he has great hands.

He is the true definition of a playmaker. If you watch the Sunday night national TV games, you've seen him twice make game-changing plays where he's scored touchdowns on defense to give his team the win.

That's what it's all about these days. The days are gone of having a one-dimensional safety. You have to have a guy that's strong against the run and can also cover receivers man-to-man.

Good morning Mr. Butler! When a player drops a sure touchdown pass, misses what looks like a sure tackle, misses a block etc. how is it dealt with by the coaches in the meetings. Is the player singled out in front of the team? Do the coaches get verbally angry and confrontational? Is it handled as a teacher would handle a student who has a difficult time learning a subject in school? Thanks - Rick (Phoenix, AZ)

I have a two-part answer for this one. First of all, the coaches have to handle it like a teacher and understand that mistakes are part of the game of football, just like anything else in life. The true test is how you bounce back from those mistakes. If these things continue to happen, it's a problem, but if it's just every now and then, those are just a part of the game.

The coaches will help the player to correct their mistakes. If it's a missed tackle, they will tell you to keep your feet and get in better position next time. If it's a dropped ball, they will tell you to look the ball into your hands, or if you miss a block, they will tell you to move your feet.

After the coaching is over with, your teammates will always get on you jokingly. They will kid you about missing the play and that's the fun part of it. Everyone knows that mistakes are a part of the game and coaches generally don't magnify them and call players out in front of their teammates.

Leroy, Could you describe what a "3" technique defensive tackle is? What are they responsible for lets say compared to a regular nose tackle? Thank you!! - Bill (Scranton, PA)

The "three-technique" defensive tackle lines up directly over the offensive guard and essentially wants to penetrate right over that guard and push him straight back to disrupt the play in the backfield.

The nose tackle lines up over the center and is responsible for playing the gaps on either side of the center which are called the "A" gaps.

A three-technique, like Warren Sapp, tries to shoot up the field and get to the quarterback. A nose tackle, like Grady Jackson or Gilbert Brown, will hit the center and fill the "A" gap to stop the run and take up space in the middle.

A lot of people I know seem to think that being a pro football player means only working one day a week. While I know this is not the case, how much work does go into planning and practice for the average player each week? Thanks a bunch and Go Pack! - Andrew (Alajuela, Costa Rica)

I'll break it down for you. Usually on a Monday following a Sunday game, the players will come in at about noon to break down the game and watch the film. As soon as the film is over and you get your grades and fix your mistakes, you go down and work out for about an hour and sit in the whirlpool.

Tuesday is the players' day off, but I would say about 90% of the players come in to watch additional film or get treatment in the training room.

The work week really begins on Wednesday. You get in at 9:00 in the morning and go straight to meetings to prepare for the opponent. After about two hours, you have a small break and then a walk-through practice for about 35-40 minutes. After the walk-through you have lunch and meet with the media in the locker room.

After the lunch break is when you go out on the field for the day's practice. That practice lasts for about two hours and is over at about 3:45 in the afternoon. After practice, you come in and get showered, and then you go to more meetings. You get out of those meetings at about 5:30 or 6:00. If you look at it, it's really a 9-to-5 kind of job.

Thursday and Friday are about the same as Wednesday, but on Thursday, the days are a little bit longer because there are even more meetings to go to. Friday is a little bit of a shorter day, as you get out at about 2:00 instead of 5:00 or 6:00. Saturday, you come in at 9:00 again for more meetings and another walk-through practice, and then you get out at about noon.

If it's an away game, you fly out for the game Saturday afternoon, or if it's a home game, you check into the team hotel Saturday evening for the final meetings Saturday night.

There's really only one day off per week for NFL players, and really it's not even a day off since most of the guys come in on Tuesdays to watch film. That's why they're prepared before the work week even really starts. It's a lot of work, not just a one-day-a-week job.

Hey LeRoy, man what a great win Sunday! The fourth quarter comeback was probably one of the best I've saw from the Pack, huge pat on the back from the defense to shut down Houston and David Carr in the second half. Does it really help a team's confidence level when they can go in for a full 60 minutes play a tough game and come home with a W, or do most teams prefer a blowout victory? - Josh (Toledo, OH)

On the road, you want to get a win any way you can get it. At home, you try blow the other team out, but it's so difficult to win on the road in the NFL, you'll take every win you can get.

Whenever a team goes down 13-3 and then shuts the other team down to come back for the win, there's only one thing that you can chalk that up to, and that's good coaching. The coaches made the corrections to put the players in the position to win the game.

You have to give Coach Sherman credit, you have to give Bob Slowik a lot of credit, and you have to give credit to the players. No one panicked being 10 points down late in the game. They simply made the necessary corrections and went out there and won the game. Coaching makes a difference and one of the big reasons the Packers were able to come home with a victory was that they out-coached the guys on the other side of the field.

I don't think Coach Sherman gets enough credit for getting his guys focused and ready to play each week.

Hey Leroy. Once again Ryan Longwell saves the day for the Packers. However, he wouldn't have made that game winning kick if Bryan Barker didn't get that bad snap down. I know kickers usually get all the fame, but do holders and long snappers ever get any credit? - Aaron (Brandon, SD)

Rob Davis has been a very good snapper for a long time now. I think holder and long snapper are two of those jobs where if they do a great job, you will never hear their names. It seems like there are always some of those jobs in sports, where nobody knows who you are unless you mess up.

Trust me, Ryan Longwell really appreciates the job that Rob Davis does and the job that Bryan Barker and before him Doug Pederson have done over the years in making his job easier. He says that they are the best in the league at what they do, and I believe him.

*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to Packers.com beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.

Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website, leroybutler36.com.

LeRoy serves as the host on the new DVD, 'Brett Favre - On and Off the Field'. Click here for more information on the DVD.*

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising