Jacksonville Jaguars: Is Plaxico Burress the Answer to the Receiving Dilemma?
Mike Sims-Walker wasn’t the answer to the Jaguars' receiving problems and was shown the door following the 2010 NFL season. Actually, Sims-Walker, Jerry Porter, Troy Williamson, Matt Jones and Reggie Williams have all tried to live up to the likes of Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell.
All have failed—and failed miserably.
Enter the idea of Plaxico Burress playing this coming season in Jaguars teal. He is currently serving a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to weapons charges, is scheduled to be released on June 6 and will be looking to catch on with an NFL team after his release.
The Jaguars have just as much of a chance as any team to sign him and make him the focal point of the Jaguars' passing attack.
Currently, Mike Thomas, who caught 66 passes last season as the team leader, is listed first on the depth chart. The team re-signed Jason Hill to line up across from him to catch balls from quarterback David Garrard. Having the veteran on the team could help Garrard make a statement in what appears to be his last season as the starter in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars drafted Blaine Gabbert with the 10th selection in the April NFL draft.
Burress was drafted eighth overall in the 2000 NFL Draft, and went on to play five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, amassing 261 receptions for 4,164 yards and 22 touchdowns. He then left the team in 2005 and signed a six-year, $25 million contract with the New York Giants. His receiving helped the team capture the 2007 Super Bowl over the undefeated New England Patriots.
In August of 2009, prosecutors announced that Burress had been indicted by the grand jury on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, and a single count of reckless endangerment in the second degree. Both felonies stemmed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right thigh that occurred in the New York City nightclub LQ in 2008. When his glock pistol, tucked in the waistband of his sweatpants, began sliding down his leg, he apparently reached for the gun and inadvertently pressed the trigger, causing the gun to fire.
On August 20, 2009, Burress accepted a plea deal that would put him in prison for two years with an additional two years of supervised release.
While the Jaguars' general manager has stated on numerous occasions that character plays a big role on filling roster needs, Burress figures to be someone who can help this team, and most likely will be eager to prove he can play again in the NFL. Analysts on ESPN and the NFL Network have pointed out that when he is released, Burress should be in good shape, but not NFL playing shape.
At 6'5", he presents a great opportunity for the Jaguars to use a man of his size and skill in the red zone. Marcedes Lewis has become the tall target for Jaguars quarterbacks. He could also open the field up for offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s passing schemes.
While teams like Philadelphia, Washington and yes, the Giants are said to be the best fit for Burress, maybe the Jaguars' brass have just enough stroke to try and lure the big target south to help the Jaguars try something new—just like he will be doing in a new environment with a new chance to make it in the NFL.
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