Burress brings life to Jets

Plaxico Burress caught a touchdown for the Jets in pre-season play during the weekend.

Plaxico Burress caught a touchdown for the Jets in pre-season play during the weekend.

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:18 PM ET

TORONTO - The fortunes of the New York Jets and the New York Giants are poles apart.

Following the performance of wide receiver Plaxico Burress in his first game in a Jets uniform on Sunday night, everybody on the team is as giddy as a teenager with a crush.

Over on the Giants side of the street, though, it’s all doom and gloom with bodies falling like trees in a tornado.

For the team in green and white, though, everything is aces due to the fact that Burress caught three passes for 66 yards and one touchdown.

Given that performance, it’s all the way to the Super Bowl for Rex Ryan and the boys.

Due to spending 20 months in the slammer after he shot himself in the thigh with an unlicensed handgun, Burress went two years between receptions.

Three catches later and the New York hyperbole kicked into gear.

“I’ve never had a target like him,” Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez gushed.

In his days with the Steelers and then the Giants, Burress proved that he can be a big-time receiver, a game breaker due to his size and ability to muscle defenders off the ball. The Jets signed him to give Sanchez that big target they were missing when the team reached the red zone.

“I think this offence can really be special,” Burress said. “I want this offence to go out and score as many points as we can. We have a great defence. We all know that. I’m challenging our offence to go out and score 28, 30 points a week. I believe that’s something we can do.”

With Burress, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason, Sanchez has a trio of receivers that the Jets believe stack up against any threesome in the NFL.

“I think sky’s the limit for this group,” Sanchez told reporters. “I know they’ll go as I’ll go, and it’s a matter of me getting completions and being efficient, getting the ball on them, and then every once in a while when they need to make a play and make the quarterback right, either a one-handed grab or a grab in double coverage, that’s what they’ll do. They have that kind of confidence, they have that big-game experience to know how to do that. But it doesn’t matter who we have at wideout, the quarterback’s got to be good, so that’s my goal.”

The play of Burress even had coach Rex Ryan gushing. Hey, that’s a joke.

“You see we beat Cover-One and we beat Cover-Zero throwing the ball up to him,” Ryan said. “I don’t care who you are playing corner, you can be Willie Brown or Darrelle Revis out there, that’s going to be tough.”

Added Burress: “To be honest, it feels like I never left. It’s the tip of the iceberg. I’m just getting started.”

Was he talking about his own performance, or the hype?

Fallen Giants

The season is little more than two weeks away and for the Giants it must seem as if it’s already over.

They have played two pre-season games and out of it have received a tidal wave of injuries.

On Tuesday, the Giants announced that second-round pick Marvin Austin, a defensive tackle tore his pectoral muscle and will likely be gone for the season.

On Monday night the blow was larger as they lost cornerback Terrell Thomas for the season due to a knee injury.

Thomas tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee with 22 seconds left in the first half, another reminder of how pointless and potentially devastating preseason games can be.

“Terrell is a big part of this defence,” veteran cornerback Aaron Ross said. Losing him is a big hurt to the team.”

Thomas is now the fourth Giants cornerback and counting to be injured this year. Backup Bruce Johnson tore an Achilles’ tendon early in camp while first-round pick Prince Amukamara broke his foot and won’t be available until mid-October. The status of free agent Brian Witherspoon is also up in the air as he sprained his left knee and is awaiting the results of an MRI.

The loss of Thomas, though, is the biggest blow.

“I don’t think he’s someone you can just replace,” safety Antrel Rolle said.

The defence will also be without defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who had knee surgery last week and is likely out until October at the earliest.

The question is at this rate will the Giants have any defensive players left for the season opener Sept. 11 against the Redskins?

Quick hits

New England defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth was back practising with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, marking his first practice since Aug. 4. Coach Bill Belichick had been describing Haynesworth’s situation as “day to day” for more than two weeks ... Running back Caleb King, who was not selected in the supplemental draft, signed Tuesday with the Minnesota Vikings ... The Pittsburgh Steelers signed inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons to a new six-year, $50-million contract. Timmons was the Steelers’ first-round pick in 2007. Last season, he registered a team-leading 135 tackles and also had three sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries ... Holdout Tennessee running back Chris Johnson said he is flying to Nashville to meet with the Titans’ general manager Mike Reinfeldt on Wednesday.

Leinart dropping the ball

After being a flop in Arizona, former USC quarterback Matt Leinart is flaming out while attempting to nail down the backup job in Houston. Both coach Gary Kubiak and Leinart himself offered less-than-glowing reports over the former Heisman Trophy winner’s mediocre performance on Saturday night against the New Orleans Saints.

Against the Saints, Leinart went 8-for-19 for 69 yards. It was his second consecutive dud outing, as in the Texans first preseason game he went 8-for-14 for 78 yards with one TD and one interception against the Jets.

“Matt didn’t play the way he’s capable of playing,” Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle. “He didn’t seem as comfortable as he did the first week.”

“I went back and looked at what I had him doing. Was I maybe asking him to do too much? He started very sharply, but he didn’t throw the ball where I’d like him to go with it. He knows he can play better.”

Leinart didn’t think much of his performance either.

“I’m mad at myself,” Leinart said. “I definitely wouldn’t give myself a passing grade.”

The problem is that Leinart hasn’t had a passing grade since he left USC. It doesn’t appear that he’s minding his groove in Houston.


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