A certain someone seems to be very thankful this Thanksgiving by what he’s been saying to the media.
The Steelers signed Plaxico Burress on Wednesday, and that could have bigger positive effects on the Steelers offense than one might think. In fact, Plax may find himself playing a rather important role on this team that could keep guys like Jerricho Cotchery on the bench even after he’s healthy. I’ll even go out as far out to say that Burress will outperform Mike Wallace in the coming weeks
Burress still believes in himself and has maintained ‘football shape’ since being cut by the Jets during the offseason. He’s seems (seems) to have matured since his last stint in the ‘Burgh, saying things like:
"Getting an opportunity to play where you started, how many guys get an opportunity to do that?I just want to come in and have an impact and learn and show some young guys new tricks and just have fun.Those are some of the question I can’t answer. I just remained in shape and kept telling myself I have some good football left in me."
He’s on for a one-year deal woth $920,000. There’s hope that Burress will have a fast and lasting impact on the 2012 season. To do that, he’s going to really have to delve into Todd Haley’s playbook. But there’s always been one thing about Burress that no one ever seems to remember – he’s actually had some good football smarts. He doesn’t have any street smarts and has the reputation for lax play, but when it comes to route running and learning – he’s fairly good grasping the schemes.
That already puts him light years ahead of fellow ‘once hot shot receiver,’ Mike Wallace. Couple that with his 6’-5” frame and a decent set of wheels, and Burress is built to not only succeed in this type of offense, but also eclipse Mike Wallace in performance. Burress is not as fast as Wallace (4.6s v 4.3s 40 time), but as of last season he can still run an out route well. He scored 8 TD’s with one of the leagues most suspect QB’s while on the Jets last season. That has to count for something that this guy still has what it takes.
I sense that Burress could be a good ‘go to guy’ for Batch not only on Sunday, but also against the Ravens in two weeks as well. Should Brown return for the Ravens game, the Steelers could have Brown, Wallace, Burress and Sanders lined up all at one time. Let’s see Ed Reed try and put a helmet on that combo. I believe that the Browns game will be a bit of settling in for Burress, and his real usefulness and the real reason why the Steelers brought him back is to help produce against the Ravens secondary. Burress could potentially out produce Wallace – and at this point can anyone argue otherwise? – and slide him to the #2 spot on the depth chart. Does that mean Wallace sees less playing time? Not necessarily. Having both of them out there as a deep threat will cause secondaries to go insane. But, Burress will benefit most from this as well. I think he will get open more often and play the jump ball or back shoulder fade much better than Mike ‘Doesn’t Matter If You Even Hit Me In The Hands’ Wallace.
Overall this is a smart and good move by the Steelers. I’m not hot on Burress’ track record over the last 5-6 years. I hope hitting bottom with the arrest and being let go by the Jets has put him in a different mental frame of mind to put out 100% effort every single snap. Expect to see him have an impact Sunday and beyond. And expect Mike Wallace fall deeper and deeper into the abyss of insignificance.