Keith Butler referred to Ryan Shazier as a “loudmouth.”
If you’re talking about your in-laws coming to town for the holidays, that probably isn’t a compliment. But in the football world, it’s a positive thing.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Butler interestingly pointed out that Shazier is in charge of a large part of the communication on defense.
“When you have communication on the defense, somebodies involved with the front for us. It’s Ryan Shazier. I’ve always said you have to have a loudmouth up front and a loudmouth in the back,” Butler said, responding to a question over what Will Allen has brought to the defense.
While it makes sense that Lawrence Timmons, and every member of that defense, has some role in communication, even if it’s just repeating checks and calls, it was slightly surprising to see Butler talk about Shazier first. A second-year player who has missed a fair share of games and practice already compare to Timmons, a nine year veteran who has played in at least 14 games since being drafted in 2007.
But it’s a testament to his football IQ to be trusted enough to play a big role in the communication. Watch the tape and you’ll see him making calls and moving players around. It hasn’t always worked to perfection, Sunday’s mistakes against the Denver Broncos can be partially attributed to mistakes made by Shazier, but that may be the only noticeable blip on the radar.
Hopefully it won’t be a reality for several more seasons but Timmons won’t be on this team forever. A steady presence, it’s nice to see someone else, a player who has better long-term prospects, assume the role Timmons held for several seasons. It’s natural progression, a passing of the torch. From James Farrior to Timmons. And now, Timmons to Shazier.