Hall of Famer
Plaxico Burress: I still can 'dominate in the red zone'
We heard from both Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson on Friday, two former star wide receivers holding out hope that the book hasn't closed on their NFL careers.
The plight of those two men should make Plaxico Burress feel fortunate. The veteran wideout caught on with the Pittsburgh Steelers last November, then re-signed a one-year contract in March.
Burress will fall somewhere on the back end of the Steelers' depth chart if he manages to stick around. He believes he still can produce as he approaches his 36th birthday.
"I know I can still play. I know I can dominate in the red zone," Burress said Sunday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Just go out and play at a high percentage. In those one-on-one opportunities, just succeed at a high rate. I know I can. Being out there last year, I drew double coverage in the red zone without hardly playing. I think teams will have to respect that."
Burress can point to his game tape with the New York Jets in 2011, when he scored eight touchdowns in a comeback season following his release from prison. It was clear then that Burress had lost a step -- and probably more -- but he had his niche.
Burress hopes he can find another one with the Steelers.
He's right. He is definitely a legit red zone threat at this point in his career.
I don't know why Haley didn't seem to get this last year and I hope he does this year. Plax's size alone means you need to focus 2 defenders on him.
...and he knows how to draw a PI flag.
Originally Posted by flippy
And seriously, when was the last time a Steelers receiver drew a PI flag? Seems like it rarely if ever happens.
Originally Posted by feltdizz
Chad Johnson's 'red zone' is located in a Florida jail for the next 30 days.
Maybe he'll develop a jail dance for reaching that end zone.
What Does Plaxico Burress Have Left?
Jun 11th, 2013 by Nick Kelly
After Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery went down with injury last season, the Steelers were bare at the receiver position. Other than at the time invisible Mike Wallace, they had Emmanuel Sanders and David Gilreath. I don’t know about you, but that concerns me, as well as the Steelers. They were forced to then look at a receiving option on the free agent market. Terrell Owens? Thank goodness no. Chad Johnson? The day he would be a Steeler would be the day the Steelers fire Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and cut Roethlisberger, Miller, Polamalu, Brown, and Timmons. Basically, never going to happen. The Steelers decided to go in the direction of the man they had looked at the previous offseason: Plaxico Burress.
During the course of last offseason, I was pulling hard for the Steelers to sign Burress, even if it was for cheap. He just came off of an 8 touchdown season and he’s hungry to prove he can do it again! What more can you ask for from a guy that would be getting about 1 million. Unfortunately, the Steelers didn’t end up signing him until midway through the season. Literally hours before the free agency period began, the Steelers resigned Burress to a one year deal for the veteran minimum. If the Steelers wanted to cut Burress, they very well could, but the biggest question is: What does Burress still have to contribute?
At the age of 35, Plaxico is 1 of 3 players from the 2000 draft class still in the league today, other than Tom Brady and Center Brad Meester. After all the adversity Plaxico has faced, he is still here. I still firmly stand by the point that Plaxico Burress is exactly what the Steelers need. They have the speedy and shifty Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, they have the tough as nails veteran Jerricho Cotchery, and they have the deep threat as well as crisp route runner who is raw but talented in Markus Wheaton. What are the Steelers missing you might ask? A tall physical receiver.
If you look around the NFL, look at the most dominant, hard to stop receivers: Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green, Julio Jones. What do they all have in common? Height and physicality! No, i’m not saying Plaxico Burress is going to be one of them, but look at what matchups problems tall receivers create for defenses. Plaxico has such crazy physical attributes that defensive backs have to jump and work hard just to reach Plax’s height. I was even more impressed when I watched Plax’s Sport Science on ESPN.
People have said so what? He’s only going to be a 4th or 5th wide receiver. Most likely yes, but guys like Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders aren’t exactly the best options in the red zone being under 6 foot. Plaxico Burress on the other hand is 6’5′ and excels in the red zone. He even said himself:
I know I can still play, I know I can dominate in the red zone. In those one-on-one opportunities, just succeed at a high rate. I know I can.”
Also, Plaxico Burress will be fantastic depth. He was brought in exactly for this purpose last season! Say Brown and Sanders go down, Plaxico will be there to step up. Even though Plaxico Burress doesn’t play tight-end, with Heath Miller to possibly miss part of the season, Plaxico Burress will be needed to help pickup the slack in the red zone with Miller potentially absent. Even if Miller is ready to start the season, imagine trying to cover a package with 6’5′ Burress and Miller, as well as an average handed Matt Spaeth who is 6’9′. That would be near impossible if you ask me.
With a full offseason under his belt, Burress should be in a much better chance to succeed this season. Even if he catches 4 touchdowns, he will make the Steelers look smart for what they paid for Plax. So what does Plaxico Burress have left? For 35, it will be fun to watch not if he catches touchdowns but instead how many he will catch.
I'm not holding out hope, TBH. Athletes themselves, are usually the last to come to realization of their diminished skill and I think that is the case here. He may be big, but at this point, what else does he have? The red zone is a different area of the field, but you don't just go from average WR between the 20's, to a "dominater" in the red zone.
Steelers hope rapport between Roethlisberger, Burress produces
By Alan Robinson
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Chaz Palla | Tribune-ReviewSteelers receiver Plaxico Burress runs after making a catch during practice Monday, July 29, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.
Ben Roethlisberger rolls to his right, looks downfield and spots Plaxico Burress in single coverage near the sideline. Burress catches the ball perfectly on his fingertips as he adeptly stays in bounds. The cornerback has no chance to defend because of Roethlisberger's pass placement and Burress' height and leaping ability.
It's just like old times for the Steelers passing game in Latrobe — or, more precisely, just like 2004. By NFL standards, it's almost ancient times. But while Burress no longer is the Steelers' primary receiver two weeks away from his 36th birthday, he still possesses recognizable ability and an unmistakable chemistry with Roethlisberger.
Or exactly the kind they developed during Roethlisberger's rookie season, when it was the 6-foot-5 Burress' playmaking ability that greatly accelerated the quarterback's learning curve and helped him become an overnight success. He even assisted Roethlisberger in choosing his outfit for his first national TV appearance with David Letterman.
Now, it is Roethlisberger who is trying to repay the favor, helping to extend Burress' career less than a year after it appeared to be over.
“We can diagram and understand a coverage with just us being out there and not getting a lot of reps,” Burress said Monday. “I think that's a rapport that a lot of quarterbacks and receivers dream about, but it kind of comes naturally to us. We can make adjustments on the fly. We see the same coverages, and we can come to the sideline and I can say something, and we know exactly what we're talking about. It's special.”
The Steelers are counting upon that bond between veteran quarterback and veteran wide receiver to help them make up for some of the offense they lost when Mike Wallace took off for Miami — even if it wasn't readily apparent when, after being out of the league most of last season, Burress rejoined the Steelers for the final month of the season and made four catches in three games, one for a touchdown.
It came more than 12 years after he made his first catch for the Steelers, one thrown by Kent Graham — yes, it was that long ago.
The Steelers are hoping that with a full training camp — and it would be Burress' first in the NFL in five years because of the gun law violation that put him in prison for 20 months and a 2011 camp injury — Burress and Big Ben can again be an effective situational passing combination — especially in the red zone, where Burress excelled two years ago while making eight touchdown catches for the Jets and gave him 34 scoring receptions over a four-season span.
“It's one of those deals where if I get single coverage, I think everyone on the field knows where the ball's going,” Burress said. “We had a couple of instances last year — the Cleveland game — where they were kind of rolling the coverage to me, and we put Antonio (Brown) on the back side and in the slot and he was wide open, walking into the end zone. Those are some of the wrinkles we hope to add, and defenses are going to have to adjust to accordingly.”
Roethlisberger hasn't said so publicly, but he wanted Burress to play a bigger role after the receiver rejoined the Steelers.
“The guys we have here, I think, are more than capable of doing their job — Antonio (Brown), Emmanuel (Sanders), J-Co (Jerricho Cotchery), Plax — and we'll see what (rookie Markus) Wheaton can do. I think those guys will be just fine,” Roethlisberger said. “They don't need to go out and be Mike Wallace. They just need to go and be themselves, and we'll be fine.”
A Burress resembling that of two seasons ago would be just fine for the Steelers, who don't mind reliving the old days.
Time for Burress to close the book. Don't have the luxury of a vet who is only valuable in the red zone. I'd rather save the roster spot for someone who can contribute on special teams like Dunn.