Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Not a particularly comPlex situation

Coming back to the Burgh.
No way the Steelers plaxed themselves by signing Plaxico Burress.

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls have no plex with Plex.  He can only help a depleted receiving corps that desperately misses team MVP Antonio Brown and steady Jericho Cotchery.

How much Burress will contribute on the field remains to be seen. With 550 career catches, Plex brings a "pedigree, if you will," as head coach Mike Tomlin would say.  If not baggage.  If nothng else, Plex is "entertainment-capable," as Tomlin might say.

Curiously enough, for a guy who is 6'5", Plex has never been much for out-leaping people. He's also never been a speed burner, the type who will flat-out sprint past defenders, a la Mike Wallace.

Burress gets somewhat mistakenly characterized as a red-zone receiver.  Granted, he did have eight touchdowns last year for the New York Jets (with an average-at-best quarterback throwing the ball), but his last play of consequence as a Steeler was a non-catch in the end zone at Heinz Field in the AFC Championship Game the Steelers lost to the Patriots in 2004.  Ancient history.

At this point of his career, Plex is primarily a possession receiver, much like Cotchery, only with more flair and, possibly, more big-play capability.  He is a welcome addition.

Welcome back, Plaxico Burress.

It will be interesting to see how Burress contributes.  One thing, though, and it's just our opinion::  The two-year prison sentence Burress got for shooting himself always seemed more than excessive.  But that's the law, and it is what it is, as the kids say these days. He paid a heavy price for a stupid mistake and now seems to be at peace with himself.  We have a feeling he's got something left in the proverbial tank and that he will contribute.

A Word About Antonio Brown 
Let's reiterate the obvious: The Steelers desperately miss Antonio Brown.  He was their team MVP last year.  Unlike somebody with the initials MW, Brown catches pretty much everything and blocks willingly.  Nobody on the roster separates off the line of scrimmage like Brown, although Emmanuel Sanders is pretty good, too: a nifty, slippery and polished receiver (ideal for the slot, much like Antwaan Randle-El used to be).

Still, Brown gets separation from defenders like no other receiver on the Steelers' roster.  He is sorely missed.

Byron Leftwich should have been out of Sunday's game, early.
Footnote:  Since we're talking about receivers, is it possible Byron Leftwich's long windup led to his receivers getting walloped on Sunday?

Most notably Jericho Cotchery, who sustained broken ribs when he got blasted by Ravens safety Bernard Pollard as the ball arrived.   Heath Miller also took a heavy hit late in the fourth quarter.

Such collisons happen all the time in football, of course, but we're still cranky about Sunday's loss.  Our feeling is that Leftwich shouldn't have even been in the game at that point. He was doing nobody any favors, least of all his receivers.  The coaches should have pulled him.  It's still a mystery why they didn't.

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