Plaxico Burress: Mark Sanchez had shoulder issues last year

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer
Instead of studying the playbook, perhaps Burress should have been examining Sanchez's shoulder. (US Presswire)

Free agent receiver Plaxico Burress has spent most of his offseason, depending on which radio station he's speaking, saying how great of a match he'd be for any team who needs him.

But since he still remains unsigned, perhaps he's trying out a new potential career -- that of a journalist hungry to break news.

And his subject? The Jets quarterback situation (of course), which is probably why Burress told WFAN radio on Monday (via ESPN New York) that Sanchez encountered shoulder problems last season.

“He was battling some injuries last year, shoulder-wise that a lot of people didn't know about ... different things like that,” Burress said. “But I think he really turned a corner.”

If you're asking, “what kind of corner?” is Burress talking about, he doesn't elaborate. But if he means that Sanchez turned a corner in his career, it's hard to agree. Though Sanchez -- who did have shoulder problems in 2010 -- statistically had his best season in 2011, the Jets brought in Tim Tebow as the backup just in case Sanchez doesn't improve (or in case he regresses). Plus, after helping New York to back-to-back AFC championship appearances in his first two seasons, he led the Jets to an 8-8 record in 2011 that was deemed unacceptable by everybody in the organization.

By Pro Football Focus' measurements, Sanchez was the 37th best quarterback out of 38 last season, beating out only Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert -- to put that in perspective, PFF measured Curtis Painter as having a better season than Sanchez.

As ESPN New York points out, Sanchez was never on the injury report last season with a shoulder problem, though he did have neck issues in Weeks 15 and 16 that could have impinged his throwing ability.

And remember, Burress and Jets receiver Santonio Holmes were rumored to be two of Sanchez's biggest anonymous critics last year, especially when at least one of his teammates said Sanchez was lazy, coddled and a baby.

“We have to bring in another quarterback that will make him work at practice,” one player said before the team traded for Tebow. "He's lazy and content because he knows he's not going to be benched."

Said LaDainian Tomlinson in January: "I think some things that happened in the locker room between [Sanchez] and the receivers, I think that's where this is coming from -- some of the disconnects that happened throughout the year, maybe some of the arguments you guys heard about throughout the year. So I think this is where it may be coming from.”

But if Burress is right (and I imagine he'd be an insider who knows what he's talking about), maybe Sanchez isn't as poor as many observers believe. Maybe his shoulder really did bother him so badly that it led at least one reputable site to conclude that Sanchez is the second-worst starting quarterback in the league. If that's the case, it's lucky Sanchez has Tebow by his side, because as we all know, if anybody's got the healing touch, it's Sanchez's backup.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.

 
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