Didinger's Mailbag: Would Burress fit with Birds?

Didinger's Mailbag: Would Burress fit with Birds?
July 21, 2011, 5:45 am
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Answering your questions and commenting on your comments, here is Thursdays dip into the mailbag.

Q. Do you believe the hype that Plaxico Burress is coming to the Eagles? Do you think he can still be a major contributor or will his role be diminished to that of a situational player?

-- Ed Liberati

A. I spoke to several NFL people recently who made it sound like Burress to the Eagles is a done deal. The buzz is that strong. Personally, I dont see it. I dont think it is a fit for either side.

The Eagles dont need another receiver. They have DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Riley Cooper. At best, Burress would be No. 4. And Im sure whatever contract Burress works out will have incentive clauses based on number of catches. Well, how many balls does he figure to catch in this offense? Not many. So it doesnt make a lot of sense from his side either.

It is a long shot Burress ever regains his big-time status. He will spend this season just getting back into shape and regaining his timing. The fact he wont have much time to assimilate into his new team because of the lockout only complicates matters. And lets say he uses this year to regain his legs: he will be 35 next year. How many rusty 35-year-olds are playing wide receiver in the NFL?

In fairness, I was one of the skeptics who felt the Eagles signing of Michael Vick was folly. Clearly I was wrong. Vick has resurrected his career in ways I never thought possible. Maybe Ill be wrong on Burress, too. I just think his best shot would be with St. Louis, Chicago or Oakland, teams that need a receiver. The Eagles dont.

Q. Kevin Kolb is wanted by quite a few teams. Why not re-sign him and trade Mike Vick instead? I believe Kolb gives the Eagles a better chance to go deep in the playoffs considering Vicks style of play and the injury concerns.

-- D. Bartal

A. Its not going to happen. Vick played so well last season, the Eagles would not even consider trading him. They feel Vick can take them to a Super Bowl although the question remains: Can he make it through an entire season without being injured? Kolb has significant trade value and the long-rumored deal with Arizona still makes sense.

If you saw the quotes from Kolbs recent radio interview, it sounds as though he has resigned himself to playing for the Cardinals. Asked if he could envision any scenario in which he would be an Eagle this season, Kolb said no. He has already turned the page, so bringing him back now really isnt an option.

When the Cardinals chose not to draft a quarterback in April, it was clear their plan was to trade for a veteran. Kolb was the logical choice. If the Eagles can deal their backup quarterback for a starting cornerback (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and a 2012 draft pick, it seems like a fair exchange.

Q. Im getting psyched for Eagles training camp. I know you always have a few sleepers to recommend. Give me the name of a late-round draft pick that I should keep my eye on when I go to Lehigh.

-- John P.Havertown, Pa.

A. Brian Rolle, the linebacker from Ohio State. I thought he would be drafted in the fourth or fifth round, so when the Eagles got him late in the sixth I felt it was a steal. He is small (a shade under 5-10, 225 pounds), but he was a highly productive middle linebacker for the Buckeyes.

Rolle is quick, instinctive and very strong for his size. He did 28 reps in the bench press at the combine. I think the Eagles will play him at weakside linebacker and he could find a home there, but I expect him to make an immediate impact on special teams.

Q. When the NFL holds its supplemental draft, how high do you think Terrelle Pryor, the Ohio State quarterback, will be selected? Do the Eagles have any interest?

-- Carl G.Allentown, Pa.

A. In my opinion, Pryor is at least two years away from being able to play under center in the NFL. I dont think he will be selected very high. I wouldnt even consider taking him higher than the fourth round, but it wouldnt surprise me if some team took a flier on him in the third. He has size and a serious skill set, but he is very raw.

I doubt the Eagles have interest in Pryor. They already have one young quarterback they are trying to develop (Mike Kafka). If they trade Kolb, what they will need is a veteran to back up Vick. They dont need another project and thats what Pryor is at this point.

Q. Why not keep both David Akers and Alex Henery? Even though Sav Rocca has been an exceptional punter, letting Henery gain some experience as a punter while covering the Eagles kicking game should Akers be injured or begin to show his age seems a viable solution.

-- Rodger Gamber
A. Like Kolb, Akers has mentally moved on. He is ready for a fresh start with a new team and he will have offers. In my opinion, he is still one of the five best kickers in the game. But the Eagles drafted Henery to be their guy. It is his job and while he did the punting at Nebraska, the Eagles wont ask him to do double duty. They want the rookie to focus on one task and thats placekicking.

Q. Do you think Brodrick Bunkley will play better with (Jim) Washburn coaching him or is he what he is at this point in his career?

-- Joe McGauley

A. Washburn is known as a coach who gets a lot out of his players. He did it with Albert Haynesworth (well, some of the time). He did it with journeymen such as Jason Babin (Pro Bowler last season) and Travis LeBoy. It will be interesting to see what he can do with Bunkley, a former first-round pick, who is clearly underachieving. Bunkley lost his starting tackle position to free agent Antonio Dixon last season and the defense improved with Dixon in there.

Bunkley has no injury issues. At 27, he is still young and healthy and he has shown in the past that he can play in the NFL. For whatever reason, he seemed to lose his focus over the past two seasons. Perhaps Washburn with his tough love approach can get him find it.

Q. Not that Im obsessed with it, but is it only me that thinks on the Eagles final offensive play of the season Vicks interception against Green Bay the fault is not only with Vick for throwing a bad pass. I would like to believe that in that situation a veteran receiver would have made a defensive play to break up the interception. Riley Cooper made no such attempt, yet Ive not heard anyone bring that up.

-- Blaine FrescoLambertville, N.J.

A. At the time, some people (mostly talk show callers) criticized Cooper for not doing more to knock the ball away from Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams, but thats a stretch. Williams was in perfect position. The blame lies with Vick. He got greedy and made a low-percentage throw at the worst possible time. Dont blame the rookie. This was on the veteran quarterback. He should have known better.

Q. Does Reggie Bush intrigue you at all? I like him as a receiver and a kick returner, but probably not at the price he would want.

-- Dan Willig

A. Bush has been hurt off and on (he had a broken leg in 2010) and, to me, he looks like a guy who lost his mojo. At this point, he is a role player if anything, a change-of-pace back and return man, but Im sure he will want to be paid like a star and I dont see the Eagles going in that direction. They have enough weapons on offense. Whatever money they have to spend, they should spend it on defense.

A final note: Id like to thank everyone who sent cards or e-mails during my recuperation from heart surgery. I tried to answer every get-well message and I apologize if I missed anyone. I greatly appreciate your concern. It is very nice to be back.

E-mail Ray Didinger at viewfromthehall@comcast.net

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