It's Time to See What Plaxico Burress Can Do

Ankle injury has slowed Burress' installation into the offense

When the Jets signed Plaxico Burress, they knew that there would be some bumps in the road. How could you expect anything different when a player is coming off a two-year stint in prison and joining an unfamiliar offense?

Still, it would be nice if Burress could actually get on the field and start smoothing out those bumps.

Burress missed Thursday's walkthrough for a personal matter after missing Tuesday's workout because his ankle was swollen again. He took part in the afternoon session, a good sign after missing so much time with the ankle injury he suffered in his first moments back on a football field.

There are plenty of players dealing with aches and pains right now, so an injured ankle isn't a red flag all by itself. It does raise concern about how Burress is going to hold up to the rigors of the full season, especially once he starts getting hit by other players for the first time in almost three years.

Rex Ryan still expects Burress to play in Monday's preseason opener and insists that the Jets are being as cautious as possible to make sure the ankle injury heals completely instead of lingering. A wise course of action to be sure, but the Jets really need to get Burress on the field so they can figure out what their offense is going to look like this season.

On top of that, Burress needs to be on the field so that he and Mark Sanchez develop some sense of the best way to play with one another. Training camp is an important time to work on that, as evidenced by the way Santonio Holmes stepped right into the offense after his suspsension last season.

Sanchez is doing what he can to find some common ground with Burress. He took the ferry over from Jersey and bought Plax dinner on Wednesday night in the city -- it was payment for a bet that Sanchez lost -- which sounds like a pleasant evening even if Sanchez is trying to make a different connection than his usual dinner date.

It would be a massive overstatement to say that the fate of the Jets season rests on Burress. He's going to have to produce for the offense to achieve its goals, though, and the chances of that happening are a lot better when he and Sanchez are locking eyes on the field instead of over a heaping plate of fried calamari.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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