The Pittsburgh Steelers are less than a week away from the start of training camp, and the biggest question remaining in the health of tight end Heath Miller. With the severity of the knee injury he suffered in December, it is likely he will begin camp of the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list; however, that is not set in stone.
One player who may be able to benefit from his injury status is wide receiver Plaxico Burress. A late season edition in 2012, he looks to bounce-back and prove he has something left in the tank. The former first-round selection of the Steelers may be nearing the end of his career, but at 6-5, he could provide quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a big Red Zone target in Millers’ absence.
Burress, who signed a one-year contract with the Steelers early in the offseason, is in no way guaranteed a roster spot. He will be competing with rookie Markus Wheaton and veteran Jerricho Cotchery for reps in the top five, a precarious position considering the team only kept four wide outs for the majority of the 2012 season.
Roethlisberger has been politicking for a big receiver since Burress left as an unrestricted free agent. Ben loves to have big receivers that can make plays, and throughout his career, Burress proved to be that types on player. Yes, he is on the wrong-side of 30, but he has the ability to be a mismatch for the opposing defenses, and that should buy him some extra reps.
For Burress to make the team, he will have to offer the Steelers offense something they cannot get from one of the other wide receivers (especially since it is doubtful he plays on special teams). He will have to show he can be dominant in the Red Zone and potentially even on third down, where Roethlisberger must find a security blanket if Miller is on the shelf.
Will Burress make the opening day roster? Honestly, it may be too early to tell. Although, with Roethlisberger in his corner and Miller recovering, Steelers 101 likes his chances.
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