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Old 01-27-2008, 07:05 AM   #1
83-Steelers-43
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Default Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

Are Bouchette articles still permitted?

Ed Bouchette on the Steelers: A history of Com-Plax-ity
Burress' excellence in last week's NFC title game rekindles the debate over the decision the Steelers faced after the 2004 season

Sunday, January 27, 2008
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

.A four-year old debate re-appeared this past week because Plaxico Burress and the New York Giants landed in the Super Bowl.

Should the Steelers have made a better effort to sign Burress to an extension in 2004, or before he became a free agent in 2005? As it was, they made little effort at all.

Burress, a 6-foot-51/2 wide receiver, wanted a contract extension in the spring of 2004, his fifth and last year of the contract he signed as the eighth pick in the 2000 draft. When talks went nowhere, Burress skipped a required minicamp that May, which incensed coach Bill Cowher.

Burress, though, reported to training camp on time and finished out his last season. He signed with the New York Giants as a free agent in March 2005 for $25 million over six years, including a $5 million signing bonus.

The Steelers may not have tried harder to sign Burress because they did not think they could afford both him and Hines Ward, whom they wanted to sign in 2005 when he had one year left on his contract. They also knew that if they gave Burress a huge deal in 2004, they would have to give Ward a better one in 2005 or lose him.

Basically, the Steelers believed they had to make a choice between Burress and Ward and they chose Ward. Since then, Burress has had good success with the New York Giants. He still has not made a Pro Bowl, but that does not mean he is not important to the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning.

In the Giants' overtime victory in Green Bay in the NFC championship game, Burress caught 11 passes for 154 yards. He had his third-most productive pro season in 2007 with 70 catches for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns, fighting through a painful right ankle injury all season.

It's the same kind of injury that Steelers halfback Barry Foster had in 1993. Foster, against the club's wishes, decided to have surgery on his ankle, ending his season, rather than waiting. Burress opted to play on.

Although Burress has at times irked coach Tom Coughlin because he works out in Miami much of the offseason rather than in New York, Coughlin told me last March that he loves the guy. Coughlin said he and Burress not only get along but that Burress has been good in their locker room. Burress also was voted by New York writers as their version of the Chief Award for his willingness to assist them in their jobs.

So, should the Steelers have tried to keep him? Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after his rookie season and only year playing with Burress, asked them to keep him. They wound up signing Hines Ward that summer and then won a Super Bowl in 2005 without Burress.

So, in that sense, they made the right decision. But they drafted Burress eighth, their second-highest draft choice since Terry Bradshaw was picked No. 1 in 1970. You'd think they might have tried a little harder to keep him. He showed how good he could be in 2002 when, with Ward setting a team record with 112 receptions, Burress caught 78 passes for 1,325 yards.

Also, had they kept Burress they would not have had to draft a wide receiver to replace him in 2006, when they traded up to take Santonio Holmes in the first round. Instead, they might have drafted a center to replace Jeff Hartings -- Ohio State's Nick Mangold, drafted 29th by the New York Jets.

Taller doesn't mean better

Roethlisberger's public plea for the Steelers to acquire a tall receiver elicited a predictable response from Ward -- who wasn't pleased.

The quarterback said he could use a tall receiver in bailout situations -- when he's under a heavy pass rush -- and in the red zone. But the Steelers already provide him with those kinds of receivers. They have 6-5 Heath Miller and 6-7 Matt Spaeth. Perhaps they are tight ends and not wide receivers, but they ARE receivers.

Tall wide receivers are difficult to find, at least good ones. The Steelers drafted one in the fourth round in 2005, 6-4 Fred Gibson, and they cut him before the season began. They drafted 6-3 Dallas Baker on the seventh round this year and he wound up on their practice squad.

When the 6-5 1/2 Burress played here, he did not perform particularly well in the red zone anyway. The biggest misunderstanding was that he should be thrown the fade pass. They tried. Burress had terrible timing; he also did not jump very well and went down easily after the catch.

Miller has the potential to be a great red zone receiver, and if they feel the need for someone taller, they should use him more often. But I can't remember a Steelers receiver who was so good at catching a ball inside the 10 and fighting his way into the end zone the way Ward has during his career.

The bottom line is what counts: The end zone fade caught by someone 6-5, or the touchdown scored by the 6-foot receiver who fought through three tackles at the 5 to cross the goal line.

Officially speaking, they've been awful

The officiating in the Steelers playoff loss to Jacksonville earlier this month was terrible, but that's the way it's been throughout the postseason.

The officiating in the playoffs has been worse than in regular-season games.

A big reason, I believe, is because they split up the crews during the playoffs. A crew spends its entire season together, learning each other's work habits and pace and mannerisms, and calling games a certain way.

Then the NFL assigns officials based not on how these crews perform as a group, but by grading each individual official. It then assigns officials to the playoffs based on those grades.

Football likes to call itself the ultimate team sport, yet in the playoffs it breaks up its teams of officials -- and not for the better.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08027/852555-66.stm
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

Quote:
Miller has the potential to be a great red zone receiver, and if they feel the need for someone taller, they should use him more often. But I can't remember a Steelers receiver who was so good at catching a ball inside the 10 and fighting his way into the end zone the way Ward has during his career.

The bottom line is what counts: The end zone fade caught by someone 6-5, or the touchdown scored by the 6-foot receiver who fought through three tackles at the 5 to cross the goal line.
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Old 01-27-2008, 08:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

burress isn't the kind of tall WR you throw bailout passes to. he rarely fights for the ball. his fundamentals are poor when it comes to catching the ball at it's highest point. i am glad he is gone. i wanted the steelers to draft urlacher that year.

a tall WR would mean more hanging, deads lobs from BR. no thanks.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

Ed "Bullchette" sure is trying to milk this Ben comment for all it's worth isn't he...

Other than recapping why the Steelers didn't keep Burris, hat articles basically says nothing. 3 minutes of my life that I'll never get back...
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

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Originally Posted by DaGooseMon View Post
hat articles basically says nothing. 3 minutes of my life that I'll never get back...
Isn't it a thing of beauty that we as Americans have the option of reading certain articles?

God Bless America!!!
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

A quick review - Burress was and still is a jagoff and I for one am glad he's gone, and I haven't missed him for a moment since he left. How quickly some folks forget:

Quote:
Burress off base

Ward said Plaxico Burress was off the mark when his former teammate accused the Steelers of putting him in "shackles" and their fans of racism.

Burress told WTAE-TV's Jon Burton recently that, with the Steelers, "I felt my opportunities were kind of limited, so to speak, and at times, I kind of felt myself like playing in shackles. They weren't going to change, and I wasn't going to change."

Burress, who signed as a free agent with the New York Giants after five years with the Steelers, told Burton that "I was never really liked in that city. I mean, I don't think I was liked as a person. I was kind of seen as a black kid, young African-American, cornrows, drives fancy cars, wears diamond earrings, things like that. They just kind of based their perception off of what I drove and what I did and things like that. All those things were never a part of any other player on that team but me."

Ward, who wears matching 2-carat diamond earrings himself, said the only prejudice Steelers fans show is against players who do not produce.

"As far as the city and him with cornrows and stuff, they love everybody. You go out there and perform, regardless of race, color, ethnic, how you wear your hair, they don't care. The fans here know football. They know the guys who produce and give it all they got and they appreciate it. To sit there and say the city had it out against him, I don't really go along with that. I saw a lot of No. 80 jerseys in the stands."

Burress, in the interview with Burton from Giants training camp in Albany, N.Y., said fans got down on him after he dropped a pass in the end zone in the AFC championship game in January and they never let him forget it.

"It kind of seemed like everything was thrown on my back off of one play that I didn't make," Burress said, "and I took that kind of personal, from the people in that city and some of the things that were said about me."

It's different with the Giants, he said.

"I fit New York more than what I fit Pittsburgh. Nobody's worrying about my big truck or my Rolls-Royce or what I have on. That makes me feel good. People just accept me how I am instead of looking at me and judging me."
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05242/562302.stm

Sorry, a berth in the Super Bowl doesn't make things OK.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

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Originally Posted by ?teeldude View Post
burress isn't the kind of tall WR you throw bailout passes to. he rarely fights for the ball. his fundamentals are poor when it comes to catching the ball at it's highest point. i am glad he is gone. i wanted the steelers to draft urlacher that year.

a tall WR would mean more hanging, deads lobs from BR. no thanks.
Agree. I was never a fan of Burress. I can sit here and look at what he's doing with NY, but I tend to look at what he did for the Steelers. Besides complain, drop balls and underachieve, I'm not remembering much.

NY can have him. I'm content with watching Holmes come into his own.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

What an ass.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

Quote:
Burress, in the interview with Burton from Giants training camp in Albany, N.Y., said fans got down on him after he dropped a pass in the end zone in the AFC championship game in January and they never let him forget it.

"It kind of seemed like everything was thrown on my back off of one play that I didn't make," Burress said, "and I took that kind of personal, from the people in that city and some of the things that were said about me."
Or maybe it was the time he caught the ball falling, and got up and spiked it without having been touched? There were a few other plays like that, bone-head moves that negated his athleticism. The truth is that he dropped as many key passes as he caught. Think, bigger, faster, drafted-in-the-first-round Nate Washington.

This is a situation of everyone being better off for the change. It was better for us, and it was better for Burress. Move along, nothing to see here folks.

Last edited by Mosca; 01-27-2008 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:30 AM   #10
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Default Re: Bouchette: A history of Com-Plax-ity

Exactly, Burress grew up when he left here. It was the best move for everyone.

I'd still take Ward over Burress regardless of his so called turn around which more than likely never would have happened had he stayed.
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