Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Updated: October 19, 8:10 AM ET
Rex Ryan: Plaxico Burress will click
By Jane McManus
Plaxico Burress seemed like a steal at the start of the season. A wide receiver with Super Bowl credentials who could argue about who had the best championship-catch form with Santonio Holmes. Made-to-order Flight Boys.
But it's clear to everyone -- including coach Rex Ryan -- that Burress hasn't yet clicked with the Jets offense.
"It just seems like we're missing just a little bit," Ryan said a day after the 24-6 win over visiting Miami. "First play of the game I thought we had a chance to get the ball to him, went a different way. Just a little, little off. But I'm encouraged by the fact that hey we'll keep working and I think as the season goes along, you're going to see better and better chemistry and having the ball thrown to Plax more as the season goes on."
Burress is making the blocks, but he's not catching the ball. Against Miami, Burress was targeted four times and had one catch for 16 yards and a drop.
Against the Cowboys in the season opener, he was targeted nine times and had four catches for 72 yards. Against the Patriots, eight targets, three catches and 42 yards.
"There are gonna be times when he'll have 10 catches," Ryan said. "I truly believe that's coming. It takes a while to get a feel for the guy. The chemistry is there, it's just a matter of fine-tuning just a little bit more and I think we're gonna be just fine."
It's clear the Jets are banking on Burress, brought in on a one-year contract worth roughly $3 million guaranteed. The 6-foot-5 former Giant hadn't played for nearly two years after accidentally shooting himself in the leg and serving time on an illegal weapons charge.
Ryan even tried to force a pass to Burress against Jacksonville, and quarterback Mark Sanchez was injured looking for the big guy because Ryan wanted him more involved.
"Sometimes maybe we come off him a little early and maybe do a checkdown," Ryan said. "It's a lot of different things. Maybe the timing on a route's not exactly the way we expected it. Maybe the ball is a little behind or in front. Now there are just the little things that are slightly off right now. And I think once they get more of a routine with each other and everything else, it's going to get better, and I really believe that."
It needs to get better, especially now that the Jets sent Derrick Mason, a late training camp addition, to the Texans in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Ryan said he is encouraged by the way Burress and Sanchez are working together to get the connection.
"They work hard on the practice field -- they're doing some good things," Ryan said. "We're about where we thought we'd be and we're going to get better and better as we go. I'm not down on Plax whatsoever."
Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.