Butler trying to serve Bills in new role

May, 20, 2009
5/20/09
4:27
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

 
  Al Bello/Getty Images
  Brad Butler will play right tackle on the Bills' reshuffled offensive line.

Jason Taylor and Kendall Langford.

Vernon Gholston and Shaun Ellis.

Pierre Woods and Ty Warren.

A lot of Pro Bowls and young talent exist in that group. Those are the projected linebacker/defensive end pairings Brad Butler will have to cope with twice a year as the Buffalo Bills' new right tackle.

Butler played right guard for the Bills last year but is being moved out. When the Bills traded two-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters and didn't replace him, they switched right tackle Langston Walker to the other side.

"After the draft, they called me and said 'Hey, we're going to make a move to Langston at left tackle and you at right tackle,' " Butler told reporters Wednesday in Orchard Park, N.Y. "I told them what I said before, when they moved me to guard as a rookie: 'Hey, if they want me to move to field goal kicker, then that's what I'm willing to do.'"

Buffalo's revamped offensive line will feature three new faces and four jumbled positions.

The Bills signed free-agent center Geoff Hangartner. They also drafted Eric Wood, a Louisville center they're switching to right guard, and Andre Levitre, an Oregon State tackle they're switching to left guard.

The depth chart on the Bills' official Web site already lists Wood and Levitre as the starters.

"There's no doubt it's a challenge," Jauron said. "I believe we have the right group of guys for it. They work well together. They enjoy working together, and they're a bright group, football smart. They think the game. They talk the game a lot. So it gives us a chance, but it won't be easy."

Butler expressed cautious optimism in his conversion.

He made 31 straight starts, including three bowl games, at right tackle for Virginia. But he hasn't started an NFL game at tackle since the Bills drafted him in the fifth round in 2006.

"The biggest challenge is more about athleticism and speed," Butler said. "When inside, it's more about power and strength. It's going to take some time to get used to that, but what's great is that I've got [Bills defensive end Chris] Kelsay to go against every day, and he practices hard, and ultimately the way I'll make the conversion to tackle is by working hard in practice."

The transition also includes a spatial component.

"It's something that's going to take time, specifically the smaller nuances and just the feel," Butler said. "The biggest difference besides the opponent you're going against is just the space out there, and you have to get used to working in space.

"When I was at guard, it was maybe a yard to your right or your left. Now there's 5, 10 yards to the back and side."

Whether or not the switch comes to him quickly, Butler's on board with the move.

"I believe in what coach Jauron has to say," Butler said. "We haven't made the playoffs since I've been here, and if they think the best way to make the playoffs is by me playing right tackle then I'm willing to do it."

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