NAPA -- It's no secret the Raiders do not have an established No. 1 NFL go-to receiver.And with Plaxico Burress still unemployed and hinting he'd like to play in Oakland, and former Raiders quarterback and league MVP Rich Gannon stoking the fire, it only begs the question -- do the Raiders have any mutual interest in Burress?"I'll say this," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen, "we're going to look at any options that are out there that we think can make us better. Whether or not we make any moves or not, that's to be determined. But we're not going to rule anything out."The Raiders currently have 89 players on their training camp roster -- teams can carry 90, until Aug. 27, when rosters must be trimmed to 75 -- and the Raiders might have more glaring needs at linebacker, running back and cornerback.Still, in 10 seasons -- he missed two while incarcerated on a gun charge -- Burress has 550 receptions for 8,457 yards and 63 touchdowns in 144 games, 134 starts. Last season, he had 45 catches for 612 yards and eight scores for the New York Jets.The combined career totals of the Raiders' Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Juron Criner, Rod Streater and Eddie McGee? Try 176 catches for 3,832 yards and 14 TDs in 78 games.So yeah, Burress, the No. 8 overall pick of the 2000 draft out of Michigan State, has some accolades in his favor. He also has a lot of baggage.Plus, the Raiders insist they have all they need in the receiving corps already on the roster. Even after the Raiders traded Louis Murphy to Carolina."It's always rough losing a guy, especially like Louis," Heyward-Bey said. "We came in together (in 2009); that was my brother right there. But the team decided to make a move and I guess for them, it's always to get better. We're definitely a group that's close and we'll go out there and work."I can't tell you if it's better or worse."Heyward-Bey is suddenly the veteran in the group and is the most accomplished with world-class speed. Moore is the electric playmaker, though he is slowed with a tight right hamstring, and Ford can be a game-changer, not only at receiver but in returning kicks.Criner, the team's fifth-round compensatory selection from Arizona, was an OTAs revelation as a possession receiver and undrafted free agent Streater from Temple is seen in the same vein. McGee, meanwhile, is a big-bodied pass catcher who worked out with Palmer this summer.And with such a diverse skill set among the receivers, Allen thinks the Raiders are just fine."Our ability to use our weapons in different ways and be able to spread the ball around can give us an advantage," Allen said. "I think a lot of times when you have a ... go-to guy, teams are able to kind of game plan around that. So I think having a bunch of versatility and a bunch or different types of receivers is a good thing."Even if they are so relatively green and inexperienced."We've got some young guys (who are) learning how to play the game of football," Allen said, "but our explosiveness and our speed from a wide receiver's standpoint gives us a lot of options."
Would Burress be a fit in Raiders WR corps?
August 4, 2012, 3:26 am