I promise this is my last Plax-related post (unless we actually--and stupidly--sign him), but I had to respond to Aaron's post.
Really the only argument to be made for signing Burress is that he would be a credible red zone threat. Let's go ahead and dispel a couple of myths here using the magic of statistics.
First of all, there's some debate about whether red zone efficiency is a myth. How much does it contribute to win probability?
Football Outsiders has shown that red zone efficiency doesn't matter. What matters is how good an offense or defense is overall. A 30-yard touchdown pass isn't worth any less than a one-yard touchdown run.
The Eagles finished seventh in offensive generic win probability, which measures a team's likelihood of winning based solely on offense, and assuming it has a league-average defense.
So scoring, and the offense in general, is not a problem for the Eagles. As I mentioned in a previous post, they did set a franchise record for yards gained in a season in 2011.
But let's say you don't buy those arguments. Let's say you think red zone efficiency is extremely important.
The Eagles finished 18th in the league in red zone touchdown percentage in 2011, punching the ball into the end zone on around 51 percent of their red zone trips.
That's terrible. Again, it probably doesn't matter, but it's still terrible. Think about it though: why would this team be that bad in the red zone?
The Eagles feature a legitimate number-one receiver in Jeremy Maclin, an above-average receiving tight end in Brent Celek, one of the top slot receivers in the game in Jason Avant, and, most importantly, one of the top dual-threat running backs in the game in LeSean McCoy. And, oh, the fastest quarterback in the NFL.
Even taking DeSean Jackson out of the mix, THERE IS NO REASON THE EAGLES SHOULD BE A BELOW-AVERAGE RED ZONE TEAM.
I can't quantify the Eagles' lack of success, but I'm willing to bet it has something to do with play-calling. From 2006 to 2010, the Eagles ranked 12th, 25th, 25th, 21st, and 16th in the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage.
That's with different personnel, against different opponents, in different seasons. And remember, Football Outsiders found that red zone efficiency should vary significantly from season to season.
And yet, the Eagles have finished above average only once in the last six seasons, and never in the top 10.
In those same years, from 2006 to 2011, the Eagles finished 7th, 17th, 5th, 5th, 3rd, and 8th in total scoring offense.
Our conclusion? The Eagles regularly have a very good offense, and below average red zone efficiency. That tells us a couple of things.
First of all, we know red zone efficiency isn't important. The Eagles have overcome poor red zone execution to put up plenty of points.
Second, we know that the Eagles continue to perform poorly in the red zone over a series of years in which the only major constant in the offense has been Andy Reid's play-calling.
So if you think Plaxico Burress is going to come in and make a difference, I've got news for you: he won't. Don't waste the money.