Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WR Veteran Cavalry Arrives: Burleson

WR Veteran Cavalry Arrives: Burleson

June 23rd, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

This ifseason there has been much excitement about the weapons on offense brought in to take pressure off of Calvin Johnson. One of the most important is veteran WR Nate Burleson. The big question is whether this veteran cavalry will be riding to the rescue, or to the battle of the Little Bighorn…

Burleson is a conundrum at WR, and like many of the vets brought in to bolster the team has performed well in the past — but also has some question marks. Looking at his stats, you can see that Burleson has been anything other than consistent in most of his numbers throughout his career.

One thing that jumps out right away is that Burleson has had anything but consistent production throughout his career due to a number of different factors. Looking at 2003 and 2004, Burleson had a nice rookie campaign as he worked into the starting lineup opposite Randy Moss. Then, in 2004 he burst out for 68 receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving. Remember, the Vikings were really strong in 2004 and looking like they were really going places.

This was not to be for Burleson or the Vikings. The disastrous “Love Boat” season, coupled with the loss of Randy Moss and the final meltdown of Daunte Culpepper combined to push Burleson down below his rookie numbers. Then he got caught (in a financially lucrative way) in the middle of the poison-pill fiasco between Seattle and Minnesota. Minnesota stole Steve Hutchinson and in retaliation, Seattle stole Burleson. While injuries marred the next couple of years for Burleson, he was also out of place somewhat. (As a side note, Burleson was the best WR on the roster, but a top OG helped the running game far more than losing just Burleson hurt the offense for Minnesota.)

Burleson had his best season working underneath and opposite Randy Moss. He can stretch the field, but he can make the good crossing routes, and most importantly knows how to take advantage of a defense that is scheming around one guy. When they do that, it leaves holes that he showed in the past be could exploited — in this same offensive system to boot.

But what about the recent seasons, you say? After struggling with nagging injuries in 2006, he started to find his groove in 2007. In 2008, however, he was lost for the season again in what came to be known as the year of “If a WR signs with Seattle he will be on IR within 2 weeks.” Although, it seems like every year is that year for Seattle the last few seasons…

2008 saw better numbers for Nate Burleson in a true #1 role — also proving he had come back form the nagging injuries to prove that when healthy he still had what got him his big free-agent contract (when healthy… double edged sword of a concept). As a #2, I think that he has the potential to be the complement to Calvin Johnson that the Lions have been searching for. The dreaded word there is “potential” – IF Burleson can stay healthy and perform at the level he did last season with Seattle, he could easily see 800+ yards once again even in a #2 role. IF Johnson also stays healthy.

Will Burleson finally be the veteran free agent WR who could? Only time will tell, but the odds seem more in favor of cavalry riding to the rescue, than Custer to defeat. IF…

Rating: 7.6/10 (7 votes cast)
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3 Responses to “WR Veteran Cavalry Arrives: Burleson”

  1. By Nailbender on Jun 24, 2010

    This article wouldn’t have been hurt by a little proof reading.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. By detfan1979 on Jun 26, 2010

    Nailbender – perhaps you could be more specific please? Factual Inaccuracies? Grammar not up to par? Multiple spelling errors? I encourage and appreciate comments and remarks, but please elaborate so that I can continue to improve the content that I put forth. This is a blog, not a news site so I don’t have editors that pre-proofread articles or such. Thanks!

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  3. By Lionfan73 on Jun 27, 2010

    I really like this site guys. I enjoy intelligent analysis when it comes to the Lions. There are too many clowns out there spewing mindless garbage, who are uninformed, and do not use a thinking persons approach.

    I do not think Northcutt will be on the team this year. I’m looking for Derrick Williams to step up this year, and have a better year. Of course Burleson will help, along with the addition of Scheffler at TE. I also have a good feeling about Toone, our 7th round pick. I see him becoming our main return man, and becoming somewhat of a folk hero, what with the dreads, etc. Bryant Johnson I believe will make the team…but had better produce or will be cut midway through the season. Especially if Williams, or someone else steps up. This is a big year for Calvin Johnson. I hope to see 100 receptions, 1600 yards, and 13-16 touchdowns…providing he stay healthy.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

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