Pittsburgh Steelers

Projecting Plaxico Burress' Fit with Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 31:  Plaxico Burress #80 of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a pass for a touchdown while defended by Eugene Wilson #26 of the New England Patriots during the 34-20 victory over the Patriots at Heinz Field on October 31, 2004 in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania.    (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Brandon AlisogluCorrespondent INovember 20, 2012

That escalated quickly. Actually, it came out of nowhere.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are bringing back an old acquaintance, Plaxico Burress, to help with an already burgeoning passing game. 


Filed to ESPN: Free-agent WR Plaxico Burress is expected to go to Pittsburgh to meet with and take a physical for the Steelers. Need WR help

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 19, 2012

I find it hard to agree with Schefter here. Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders form a wide receiving trio that is on par with any team in the league. And that includes the Green Bay Packers.

Depending on the severity of Brown's injury, there doesn't seem to be a real "need" for Burress. The starting spots appear to be spoken for and it'd be interesting to see Chris Rainey get some work in the slot. His speed would be extremely useful in exploiting the open space over the middle and the seams.

As for the fourth receiver, Burress isn't much of an improvement over Jerricho Cotchery, assuming he's healthy.

Except, there is one area that the former Michigan State standout can still excel in. 


Red Zone Target

As is well known, Burress missed both the 2009 and 2010 seasons with a "self-inflicted injury." At least that's how I would classify shooting yourself in the thigh and then doing time because of the incident.

Anyways, when he finally re-entered the league with the New York Jets, nobody expected much from him. He finished the year with 45 receptions and posted the third-worst yards-per-catch average of his career (13.6).

However, his season was notable because he was able to haul in eight touchdowns, which was his second-best-scoring year.

He provided a service that the Jets had been lacking—a red-zone target.

That's how he is going to fit into the Steelers' scheme. Heath Miller has done a great job handling the duties solo (six touchdowns), but having another option near the goal line will pay large dividends in that specific area.

Will Burress be a big-time contributor to the Pittsburgh offense? No. 

But he doesn't have to be for this to be a successful signing. 

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