The Philadelphia Eagles suffered their first big injury of training camp when Riley Cooper fractured his collar bone on Saturday. It was the first day of live hitting, but Cooper was injured on a passing drill rather than during a live scrimmage.
The news of Cooper’s injury gave new life to the thought of adding free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Many Eagles fans are now clamoring for the guy they believe can provide a much-needed red zone threat.
At 6′ 5″ tall and weighing 232 lbs, his physical size certainly fits that description. Plus, as Jimmy Kempski over at Blogging the bEast very nicely lays out, he actually produced quite well last year in the red zone for the New York Jets.
So, the question becomes whether or not the Eagles should pursue him. Adam Schefter apparently thinks they might, according to a passing comment on Twitter where he said that “Philadelphia’s the team to watch on Plax.”
At best, I’m lukewarm on the notion of adding Burress to the mix. Maybe I’m a little gun-shy (no pun intended) about adding another veteran to the team after the influx of vets last year.
Would it be nice to have another red zone target? Sure. However, without Burress, the Eagles ranked 14th in red zone efficiency in 2011.
They would likely have been ranked much higher had they not turned the ball over a whopping nine times inside the red zone last year.
Therefore, turnovers were their biggest obstacle last year, not a lack of weapons in that area.
Furthermore, let’s not panic over Cooper’s injury. For one, he’s the fourth wide receiver…it’s not as if DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin went down. For two, it’s just a collar bone injury, which typically takes about 8 weeks for a full recovery.
Cooper will be back in business no later than Week 3 of the regular season, and possibly sooner.
The only problem this has really created is that, since Cooper is now ineligible for the PUP list, the Eagles will have to make a decision about what to do with his roster spot.
They either have to place him on IR or reserve his spot on the 53-man roster.
The Eagles usually keep five wide receivers on the initial roster. What if Marvin McNutt, Damaris Johnson and/or Mardy Gilyard have very impressive showings during camp and preseason?
That is really the only decision the team will face. There is no need to stress over whether or not to add Burress at this point.
Plus, I know it’s probably been over-played this offseason, but there is that aspect of team chemistry to think about. Who knows what kind of person Burress is, but why take a chance on rocking the boat when there is no need to do so?
If a starter went down with a significant injury, I’d think a little harder and probably be in favor of adding Burress. But not because of a collar bone injury to the fourth wide-out at the beginning of camp.
Right now, I’d rather err on the side of caution and pass on Burress.