(Long Island, N.Y.) Two weeks should pale in comparison to two years, but it still must feel like a lifetime to Plaxico Burress. The new Jet wide receiver had to sit out the team’s first preseason game after he turned an ankle in practice (more as a precaution) and will have to wait to break in his green number 17 jersey.
Just how much Burress was going to play in Houston may never be known, but it wouldn’t have been extensive after only signing as a free agent a few weeks ago. After missing the previous two years of not only the game of football but his freedom as well, Burress has a lot of catching up to do to get back to where he was before the prison sentence.
He was the Giants’ deep threat and hopes to pick up where he left off. But that will have to come in time after the injury. “From a teammate standpoint, I want to be out there,” Burress remarked. “There is no doubt about that. I’ll be watching just from a mental standpoint, going over the formations, motions and things like that, playing it through my head as they’re going over the cadence or whatever it may be. That’s the way I’ll look at it.”
Burress is expected to fully participate in Wednesday’s practice, getting an extra day due to the game against the Texans being a Monday night affair. But that also means that the team has a short week of preparation for the second preseason contest. But that is not the biggest concern for Rex Ryan, who just wants to see a healthy Burress able to contribute.
“We all want to see him out there,” the Jets head coach said, “but is it in the best interest of him? Let’s just do what’s in the best interest of Plaxico. Forget about the other deals, because as bad as we all want to see him, we’ll just have to wait another week.”
Getting in sync with quarterback Mark Sanchez is paramount for not only Burress, but also fellow incoming wideout Derrick Mason. Santonio Holmes and tight end Dustin Keller bring some continuity to the passing game, but they are used more in the underneath zone. Stretching the field will be the responsibility of Mason, and more importantly, Burress, so learning the offense and getting live reps are necessary.
Even though he cannot be working on the field with Sanchez, Burress is still doing whatever he can to get on the same page. “I think communication is very important between a quarterback and a receiver, not just playing on a football field, but (also) being able to sit down and discuss looks, coverages, looking at film and different things like that,” the veteran said. “That’s what I’ve been doing for a long time in my career. For us, it just starts with little things like that.”
Kind of like a parallel comparison with resurrecting a career. One week at a time.