NEW YORK (WFAN) — Former Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress thinks there’s “no doubt” Mark Sanchez will improve in 2012.
After all, he’s been training hard. There’s the added motivation of Tim Tebow at No. 2 on the depth chart, and the quarterback shouldn’t be bothered by the shoulder injuries that hampered him in 2011.
Wait, what? Shoulder injuries?
“He definitely has enough arm,” Burress told WFAN’s Chris Moore on Monday. “He was battling some injuries last year, shoulder-wise that a lot of people didn’t know about … different things like that. But I think he really turned a corner.”
Sanchez injured his throwing shoulder during Week 15 of the 2010 season, but the team opted against offseason surgery to repair what was believed to be a slight cartilage tear. He started all 16 games in 2011 despite being listed on the injury report multiple times for elbow and neck ailments.
As for the Jets’ acquisition of Tebow as backup quarterback, Burress said he expects Sanchez to respond “like any other player would.”
That is, compete or take a seat.
“When they bring somebody in at your position, you don’t have no choice but to go up and either perform or go home,” he said. “It’s that kind of deal in the NFL. It’s a dog-eat-dog league.”
Burress also heaped praise on Giants quarterback Eli Manning, whose success — despite being ranked No. 31 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100″ list — hasn’t surprised his former target in the slightest.
“Eli is arguably the best quarterback in football right now,” Burress said of Manning. “His football IQ for the game is second to none. That was one of the first things that jumped off the page when I was there.”
The 34-year-old free agent has declared some degree of interest this offseason in Carolina, Philadelphia and Oakland, not to mention an unlikely reunion with either New York team. Miami and Cleveland were also briefly linked to the veteran.
Though this time he wouldn’t get into any specific franchise, Burress said he’s searching for the “right fit” – and still sees himself as a starter.
“To be honest, there’s a lot of great places out there for me,” Burress said. “A lot of places that I would love to be. Like I said, I’m gonna make the correct choice for me. You know, go somewhere where I can do some of the things that I do well. And also (join) with a quarterback who can get you the football, and understands the game and all those kinds of things.”
Burress signed a one-year deal with the Jets last summer after serving nearly 21 months behind bars on a gun charge. He recorded 45 catches for 612 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011.
Are you surprised to hear of a Sanchez shoulder injury from last season? Be heard in the comments below…