The preseason doesn’t tell us a lot, but it can tell us if a player is ready to play again after a long layoff.
I wrote this on August 13 last year: “The explosive Michael Vick is back. … Vick showed the elusiveness that, well, eluded him last year. He flashed his old talent more on Friday night than all of last year combined.”
The response to the post was predictable: It’s only the preseason. Stop drinking the Kool Aid. But it was obvious that Vick was ready to be a weapon again, even if we had no clue what kind of year he could have.
The 66-yard effort from Burress against the Bengals Sunday night was not as eye-opening as Vick’s performance a year ago, but it still told us a lot. It told us Burress can be a useful weapon, especially in the red zone. It told us he can be a dangerous complementary receiver to Santonio Holmes.
Two years away from the game hasn’t seemed to sap Burress’ skills too much. The Jets moved him around, and even used Holmes in the slot to mix things up.
“You see we beat Cover-One and we beat Cover-Zero throwing the ball up to him,” Rex Ryan said after the game via the Newark Star-Ledger. “I don’t care who you are playing corner, you can be Willie Brown or Darrelle Revis out there, that’s going to be tough.”
More Ryan: “We were smiling from ear to ear. That’s why he’s here.”
Mark Sanchez on Burress: “I’ve never had a target like him.”
Burress said on Sunday that it felt like he never left the game. On Monday: “This offense can really be special.”
Signing Burress was a calculated risk. That’s why he wasn’t able to generate any big contract offers. He still has to prove he can hold up over the course of the season, which is a big concern.
In the meantime, Burress should present a unique challenge as a No. 2 receiver, especially with tight end Dustin Keller and Derrick Mason running routes underneath.