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Ten-Point Stance: Burress has been a model Jet -- so far

by | CBSSports.com National NFL Insider
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Plaxico Burress hasn't made any waves yet as a Jet. (AP)  
Plaxico Burress hasn't made any waves yet as a Jet. (AP)  

When the Jets signed wide receiver Plaxico Burress they knew it was a risky gambit. The organization wasn't as concerned about off-the-field issues. They believed Burress had learned from his mistake of shooting himself in the leg.

The concerns were always elsewhere. Would Burress practice hard? Would he study? Would he show up on time for meetings? In other words, would Burress revert back to some of the habits that were so detrimental during his time with the Giants?

The Jets got part of their answers during the Jaguars game when Burress didn't have a single catch. Quarterback Mark Sanchez could sense Burress' frustration and had a few consoling words for him. "Hang with me," he told Burress and teammate Derrick Mason. "I'll get you the rock. Don't worry. Just keep running the routes. Stay sharp. Trust me, I will throw you the ball. It will happen."

Sanchez's words might not have even been needed. Burress was calm and professional after the game. There was no complaining publicly or privately. In conversations with several Jets players a larger picture has emerged that portrays Burress as a more adult player who has easily blended in with the team and is no longer that same immature player he was with the Giants.

Could this change? Sure. Could Burress revert back to the player who so infuriated and frustrated Tom Coughlin and the Giants? Hell yeah. Burress is not the most stable personality ever, and it's also possible the players I spoke to privately are blowing smoke. But I don't think so.

I'm told Burress has been professional in practices and meetings. He's been helpful to other receivers as well as selfless. Sanchez and the offensive coaches trust him and they aren't concerned about his lack of catches because they think the catches will come. In the meantime, Burress is receiving constant double teams. This has opened things up completely for tight end Dustin Keller and the other receivers.

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My belief has been it's only a matter of time before Burress blows his top if the catches don't come, but after some discussions with the Jets players and others, I'm no longer certain.

I'm still not a believer there won't be any issues with Burress. Old habits die hard. But as was the case with Mike Vick, maybe prison time has truly changed him.

9. Another formerly troubled receiver who might finally behave is Vincent Jackson. He didn't get his deal restructured as he wanted by the Tuesday deadline, but Jackson will still play on a one-year, $11.9 million deal. If he produces big numbers -- and he is so far -- and stays out of trouble off the field (a huge if) he could command a massive salary from the Chargers. Jackson does want to stay in San Diego because of his on-field rapport with quarterback Phillip Rivers.

8. Coaches I speak to around the league aren't taking the Buffalo Bills seriously. They think their lack of talent will catch up with them eventually.

7. My guess: the embarrassment of the Giants players faking injuries on Monday Night Football, one of the league's premier properties, will push them to punish teams and players more heavily. The league knows it's a problem but doesn't want to publicly make a huge deal out of it. Behind closed doors, they will, probably this offseason.

6. Eli Manning on boos at MetLife Stadium: "I didn't hear any of it -- you're out there just concentrating and trying to figure what the defense is doing and how you can attack it and make some plays. I thought they were booing someone else."

I was there. The fans were -- stupidly, but definitely -- booing Manning. In the first quarter, no less. Good quarterback, with flaws to be sure, but he did nothing to merit booing. Not a damn thing.

5. More on Giants fans. They cheered linebacker Lawrence Taylor when his name was announced as part of a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the 1986 Super Bowl win. Just a reminder: Taylor pled guilty in 2011 to sexual misconduct after having sex with an underage alleged prostitute.

4. A) Champ of the week: Vince Wilfork. Big boy, all 400 pounds of him, gets interception and rumbles down the sideline. It was a beautiful thing to see.

B) Chump of the week: Jack Del Rio. His move of dumping David Garrard for Luke McCown. McCown's quarterback rating against the Jets? 1.8.

C) Tweet of the week: Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman: "Tuesdays are the most dangerous days for football players #boredom watch film all day, Internet shopping." Wait a second. The dangers to players: concussions, ligament tears ... Internet shopping?

3. This makes me sad for Carson Palmer. Or maybe it shouldn't. Maybe the guy's happy with his life. But I can tell you there are players around the league ripping Palmer as a chump who was afraid to take on the challenge of sticking with the Bengals and making them good again. Some players are calling him the word that is slang for a cat. They also feel he's getting a pass from the media.

2. Very quietly, the Dolphins released alleged multiple woman beater Larry Johnson. It's possible another team picks up Johnson, but it's looking increasingly probable the player who was once one of football's most feared backs is done.

1. Why the NFL is so popular: In each of the past 15 seasons at least five teams made the playoffs that didn't the previous year. There is always hope in football. That's the essence of its popularity. The scrubs, the dogs, the horrid, the disgraceful can become the playoff-bound.

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