WASHINGTON - For the second straight day, there was shuffling on the Buffalo Bills' coaching staff. The National Football League (NFL) American Football Conference (AFC) East Bills hired The Catholic University of America Class of 1995 graduate, John Butler, as their new secondary coach Tuesday.
Butler, who played football and basketball at Catholic, and later served as an assistant coach with the Cardinals football program.
Butler, 44, spent the last four seasons as secondary coach of the Houston Texans. His Houston secondary put in strong seasons in 2015 and 2016 when they ranked third and second in the league in pass defense.
In 2015, the Texans also allowed the fifth-lowest opponent completion percentage (59.0) in the league.
Butler's unit helped the Texans finish tied for third in passes defended with 90 that season. Additionally, the Texans led the NFL in third-down defense, as opponents converted less than 29 percent of their opportunities.
The Texans defense led the league in total defense in 2016 and S Quintin Demps led all NFL safeties with six interceptions that season. Houston was the only team in the NFL that year to not allow a 300-yard passer.
In Butler's first season with Houston (2014), the Texans led the NFL in takeaways with a franchise-record 34, becoming just the third team in the last 20 years to lead the league in takeaways after finishing at the bottom of the league the year before.
Texans CB Jonathan Joseph, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, offered the following on the abilities of Butler as a coach to the Houston Chronicle following the 2016 season.
"He's a great coach," said Joseph. "Coming in his first year in the NFL here, he definitely made a great transition coming from the college level, things like that. He's grown a lot over the years into one of the top position coaches in this league.
"He's able to work with young guys and get those guys caught up really quick, help them develop into players. He's very knowledgeable of the game and makes the game a lot easier for the other players around. I think every year he's just getting better and better."
Prior to his stint with Houston, Butler spent two seasons at Penn State as secondary coach (2012) and defensive coordinator (2013). Some of his other most recent college coaching stops were at South Carolina (2011), Minnesota (2007-10) and Harvard (2003-06).
Butler has a history with head coach Sean McDermott. The two played high school football together at LaSalle in Philadelphia.
At Catholic, Butler paced the 1994 Cardinals in interceptions with five and then went on to coach on Tom Clark's staff for two seasons, the last (1996) as defensive coordinator. He said he learned a number of lessons during his Catholic playing days that have helped him throughout his 24-year coaching career and in life.
"What it taught me is that you have to be able to manage the really, really good things in life and you've got to be able to handle the things that disappoint you," Butler said. "And no matter what happens, you've got to respond in the best way possible, meaning that you've got to deal with the successes and the good things you have in life with humility, and you've got to handle your defeats with grace and dignity."
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