Film breakdown: My thoughts on Plaxico Burress

Feel free to apply the following to whoever your favorite team might be.

If you follow the New York Jets, you may or may not know that the Jets had the 2nd highest red zone TD % in the NFL in 2011 behind just the Lions.  In fact, only four teams last year had a TD % of over 65%, with the rest of the NFL all under 60%.  Notice the trend with those four teams.  They all had big-body targets with at least 8 TDs:

  • Lions: Calvin Johnson, 6’5, 236, 16 TD
  • Jets: Plaxico Burress, 6’5, 232, 8 TD
  • Packers: Jordy Nelson, 6’3, 217, 15 TD, and Jermichael Finley, 6’5, 247, 8 TD
  • Patriots: Rob Gronkowski, 6’6, 265, 17 TD

About a week ago, the Jets mentioned that they plan on utilizing Tim Tebow as a red zone QB this year.  The people that follow the Jets met that news with derisive “LOL’s, haha’s, and smh’s,” since, as we mentioned above, the Jets’ red zone offense was actually a strength last season.  However, and this is a very important point… the Jets employed Plaxico Burress last season.  In the two previous seasons in which they did not employ Plaxico Burress, they finished 28th and 17th in red zone TD %.  When predicting future success of a team, often times we get stuck in the fallacy of looking at areas in which a team was successful, and assuming that success will continue… just because.  However, it is foolish to assume that the Jets are going to maintain a TD rate of 65% inside the red zone, especially since Burress is no longer on the team.  The Jets recognized this, and are trying to come up with new ways of scoring up close.  Whether that means utilizing Tim Tebow or other wacky shenanigans, the point here is that they know their red zone offense could be in trouble this season, and are trying to do something about it.

I went to the tape to see what Burress’ collection of TDs actually looked like.  Seven of the eight were in the red zone, and seven of them (one outside the red zone) were plays in which Mark Sanchez simply threw the ball up high, an basically said “Go up and get it, big fella.”  A quick pictorial look at those seven TDs (note the ball circled in red on some of the below stills):


Maybe teams around the league don’t want a 35 year old 4th WR that isn’t going to play special teams.  Or maybe he’s a colossal asshole.  I’ve never met him, so I’m in no position to have an opinion on his personality.

But let’s get two things clear: 7 > 3, and Plaxico Burress was a useful player last season.


  1. …Recommended websites…

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  2. I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great blog posts.

  3. posts are very nice.

  4. 水貂皮草 says:

    Easy to understand,I like it!

  5. ICDogg says:

    I think you’ve made a good case for Plax.

  6. PE says:

    And notice how bad the Jets RZ offense was in 2010 (pre-Plax)… they were 28th – one of the worst RZ in the teams.

    From one of the worst RZ offenses to 2nd best… not bad at all.

    1. PE says:

      the teams?

      the league*.

  7. ct17 says:

    I was surprised Moss got a call before him. Plaxico is getting treated like he shot someone else. Guys like Matt Jones and Stallworth had less trouble finding interested teams.

    1. Anders says:

      I think the problem is that Plax think he is a starting WR and not just a very good 4th receiver

      1. Trueblue63 says:

        He’s not a top 2 guy and he doesn’t play special teams, and he wants starter money. Typically that means a team with Lombardi aspirations willing to rent for a year. But he shot himself and still often sounds like he’s not in touch with reality. That shrinks your options a bit.

  8. Randy J says:

    Why not Plax. He isn’t the player he once was but if he will sign a 1 year deal and be a good teammate-go for it. Red zone offense is a huge issue still. Plaxico would help that. Its worth talking about if your Andy Reid. Pu personal feelings aside. Only focus on red zone production. The eagles would have won at least 10 games last season with a good red zone offense.

  9. Tracer Bullet says:

    Vernon Davis: 6-foot-3, 250. (SFO #30)
    Brandon Marshall: 6-foot-4, 230 (MIA, #24)
    Larry Fitzgerald: 6-foot-3, 218 (ARI, #20)

    Size isn’t everything.

    1. The Jets wouldn’t have had the success in the red zone that they had last year if they did not have Plaxico Burress. That’s all I’m saying here.

      1. Blue Eyed Devil says:

        Anyone that seriously studies fantasy football knows that only rookies chase TD numbers. TDs are very inconsistent from year-to-year among individual players.

        As an Eagles fan I believe you’d notice that the diminutive DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek all have had at least one 8+ TD season in their career.

        What this data shows me is that Mark Sanchez did a lot of gambling throwing ill-advised 50/50 balls and got lucky that his guy came down with them. Therefore it’s a smart idea to get another QB in there who you hope isn’t as bad as Sanchez.

        1. craigmac says:

          Mark Sanchez pass selection is a different topic altogether. What should be noted here, is that plax scored 8 times on 45 catches. That’s an impressive ratio. Considering the rust accumulated from 2 years in the clink, and the offensive ineptitude of the jets… I think he showed us he can contribute. Even if that td number has some luck stuck to it, it confuses me that no one has inked this guy.

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