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Jeremy Butler And Chris Moore Fighting To Carve Out Roles


Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Butler doesn't have to look far to find his role model.

Seated just around the corner in the Ravens' locker room, Kamar Aiken is the poster boy for going from a bubble player to an impact playmaker.

Butler has battled the bubble the past two years and lost each time. He landed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury as a rookie, then was part of the final cuts last year before being signed to the practice squad.

This year, Butler is once again making a strong case to land on the 53-man roster. But, once again, he's in a tough numbers game.

"I don't really think about it," Butler said. "I don't worry about anything outside of my control. I approach each and every thing that I can control Jeremy. That's it."

Butler was elevated to the active roster in late October last year, just before Steve Smith Sr.'s season-ending Achilles injury. With Smith and Breshad Perriman sidelined, Butler saw a decent amount of action and finished with a solid 31 catches for 363 yards.

The 2014 undrafted rookie out of small-school Tennessee-Martin showed a glimmer of what he could do when given an opportunity, and he's built on that this offseason.

Butler has been one of the Ravens' most impressive receivers in practice, and he's transferred it to the first two preseason games. He caught five passes for 36 yards in the preseason opener, then five passes for 35 yards Saturday in Indianapolis, including a beautiful 12-yard touchdown.

"He's just been more consistent," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday.

"That's the thing [Wide Receivers Coach] Bobby Engram, yesterday in our meeting, brought up. We still need Jeremy to be playing every play like it's the most important play of his career. And yet, he has done that so much better now than he has in the past – in games and in practice. I think that's why he's making so many plays."

Even with those plays made, it will be tough to find a spot for Butler on the 53-man roster as long as the other wide receivers are healthy, which they have all now become.

Steve Smith Sr., Aiken, Mike Wallace and Perriman are all locks. The Ravens likely wouldn't part with rookie fourth-round pick Chris Moore, especially since he's also performed well. Michael Campanaro is the leading punt returner and the team's best slot option, though he has had a tough time staying on the field because of injuries.

"I understand that it's a process, you've got to be patient and wait your turn," Butler said. "When your turn comes, you've got to be ready to take advantage."

Moore is another player closer to the bottom of the receiver depth chart who is trying to take advantage of every opportunity. The rookie caught three passes for 30 yards on the offense's two-minute touchdown drive at the end of the first half in Indianapolis.

"It's a big confidence booster, because as a rookie you worry about making those plays and how well you can perform," Moore said. "Everybody thought I could only run deep routes, so to be able to show I can do the underneath stuff helps open up the deep routes more too."

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