Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress has been with the team for four games now and this past Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys he was one of the seven inactive players for the first since he was signed. Depending on how injuries shake out this week, Burress could once again find himself without a helmet in the game this Sunday at Heinz Field against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked on Tuesday during his press conference if he sees any potential for additional involvement of Burress in the offense moving forward.
“Again, that depends on helmet availability at this point and to a degree some of that availability has been dictated by injury, not only at his position, but others,” said Tomlin. “We\’d like to include him in the plan as obviously he has a skill set that we can utilize, but all of those things are interwoven as we put together and formulate a gameplan. And usually health, and health of the team, is a factor in that. So, can\’t answer that at this time.”
One of the key question marks right now is wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who suffered a cracked rib early in the game against the Cowboys. Tomlin said on Tuesday that Sanders would be limited early on the week as far as practice goes and that they would monitor his progress leading up to the game. Should Sanders not be a full go by Friday, Burress would get his helmet against the Bengals.
In the three games that Burress has dressed for since being signed he has played 19 snaps. During those 19 snaps he has been targeted 4 times and has 1 catch for 18 yards to his credit.
The Steelers also have issues at the cornerback position as in addition. While there is a good chance that both Cortez Allen and Keenan Lewis will be able to go this week, neither will play special teams. Also, with DeMarcus Van Dyke being placed on injured reserve on Tuesday with a separated shoulder, the team signed free agent cornerback Justin King to the roster to take his place. King might lend a hand on special teams if he winds up dressing.
Basically it is a numbers game right now as far as Burress goes. The Steelers also might decide to dress all five running backs this week with Rashard Mendenhall back from his one week suspension and that would be another potential roadblock that could result in Burress being inactive for a second straight game.
As it looks right now, the only way Burress dresses this week would be if Sanders doesn\’t.