Brice Butler is the Raiders’ Lord of August.
Last season as a rookie, the wide receiver led Oakland in receptions. Through two exhibition games this summer he leads again, with eight catches for 118 yards, including the game-winning touchdown catch Friday night vs. the Lions.
Butler is definitely in the mix for earning playing time in the regular season, which begins Sept. 7 with the Raiders’ trip east to play the Jets.
This season, Butler is hoping the fall and winter are as good as his summer.
After a good camp in 2013, injuries limited his playing time, and he appeared in just 10 regular-season games, making nine catches for 103 yards.
With the production he’s shown so far in camp and in two preseason games, Butler is earning the confidence of Raiders quarterbacks.
In Friday night’s victory over Detroit, Matt McGloin found Butler for the 19-yard score with six seconds left to secure a 27-26 decision.
“That play wasn’t designed for me,” Butler told a writer for the team’s website. “It was designed for Greg Jenkins, who was in on that play. It was a post route and I was supposed to clear the safety out of the play … I just kept running and I noticed it kept opening up … and that ball came out and I just caught it.”
Rod Streater and James Jones are at the top of the wide receiver depth chart, with Butler battling Denarius Moore, Andre Holmes, Juron Criner and Greg Little to be among a group of probably six wideouts on the opening-day roster.
“It’s a tight position battle,” head coach Dennis Allen told the San Francisco Chronicle this past weekend. “I think all these guys bring a little bit something different to the table. They’ve all got certain things that they do really well and certain things that they may not be quite as good at. I think that’s a positive for us.”
Butler has good size at 6-foot-3 and has shown he can get open. Friday night, he had four catches for 74 yards, with a long of 29 yards – a catch of a Derek Carr pass that helped set up a score.
The second-year player from San Diego State says he’s determined to make a bigger splash in 2014 than he did as a rookie.
“Last year I led the whole team in receiving the whole preseason, then caught nine balls in the regular season,” he said. “For me, it’s just about building and building and being stronger throughout the season, not just having a couple good first couple of weeks now.”