Breaking Down the Biggest Question Marks in Plaxico Burress' Dust-Covered Game

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent INovember 21, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 10:  Plaxico Burress #80 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during pregame warmups before  the game against the Cleveland Browns on October 10, 2004 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Pittsburgh defeated Cleveland 34-23.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
David Maxwell/Getty Images

Plaxico Burress is back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but after sitting out more than half the 2012 season, is he really going to make a big impact?

After all, there are some NFL teams in desperate need of receivers (Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, etc.), yet nobody picked him up...until now. 

Perhaps it's the familiarity with the Steelers that ultimately landed Burress back in Pittsburgh, though injuries to Antonio Brown and Jericho Cotchery certainly had something to do with it. Burress made his bones with the Steelers, playing his first five years in the league in Pittsburgh.

There's no doubt that the Steelers need all the help they can muster, with Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich out, but there's also no doubt that Burress' game is rusty after being shelved for the past 11 months or so. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at a few question marks regarding what Burress may or may not be able to bring to the table to help the Steelers stay in the playoff hunt in 2012. 



From the reports coming out regarding Burress' workout for the Steelers, it seems as if the old wide receiver is still in excellent physical shape. 

Per, Mike Tomlin said this after the workout:

He’s in really good physical condition based on the workout I just saw. He’s got very good body control for a big man. He can drop his weight at break points. Obviously, he’s no stranger to football.

Still, being in excellent physical shape isn't akin to being in football shape. 

Burress enters the fray without the benefit of being in training camp, preseason and 10 games worth of action, and there's no doubt it'll take him some time to get into the kind of condition it takes to play significant snaps in an NFL game.



Burress was never a burner. In fact, he ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash at the 2000 NFL scouting combine, back when he was still a young man. 

Now, at the age of 35, there's no doubt he's a few steps slower than he was in his prime, and given the emphasis on quickness and speed in Haley's system, I'm not convinced he'll be able to contribute on a regular basis. 

The one thing Burress has always had going for him is his size (6'5" and 232 pounds), and his excellent hands. But if he can't get off the line with quickness and doesn't have the speed necessary to break away from the talented cornerbacks in the NFL these days, his impact will be minimal.



When Burress re-entered the NFL in 2011 after a three-year absence, he signed on with the New York Jets on August 1, allowing him time to learn the team's playbook and get in sync with Mark Sanchez.

It was a successful marriage, as Burress ended the season with eight touchdown receptions to tie Santonio Holmes for the team lead. 

That said, Burress has absolutely no rapport with the current Steelers squad—especially considering Charlie Batch will be the one behind center, as he hasn't started a game since last December. 

I'm highly skeptical that Burress can make an instant impact for the Steelers. I'm curious to see how hard Todd Haley tries to get him involved and to see if it'll have a negative impact on the team.

What's your take? 

Let us know in the comments section below. 


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