Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Holmes: I'm ready to lead and produce
By Matt Ehalt
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- He was the poster boy of the dysfunction that ruined the Jets last season, but Santonio Holmes is taking it upon himself to be a leader -- and producer -- this year.
"I'm super excited about Sunday. It's go time," Holmes said Wednesday. "I can't sit around and expect anyone else to be a leader for this team and to produce the way I know how to. The coaches are excited about what the plan's going to be for us as a team and I'm excited as well."
As a leader, Holmes is going to have to pick up the pieces after last season's troubles. He was benched in the finale against the Dolphins as the Jets removed him from the game after making comments in the huddle, among other things. He also called out the offensive line after it had some rough games, which made Brandon Moore question the receiver.
On the field, Holmes will have to bounce back from the worst year of his career. He caught 51 balls, just two more than his career low, and registered a career-worst 654 yards. After catching 79 balls for 1,248 yards in his final season in Pittsburgh in 2009, Holmes has managed just 103 catches for 1,400 yards in his first two season with the Jets.
Holmes appears to be saying all the right things entering Sunday's big game against Buffalo, talking up what needs to be done as a team to win games. He added that he's not looking to prove any doubters wrong after being written off after last year.
"I play the game for the New York Jets and this football team and to win as many ballgames I can help this team win," Holmes said. "To catch as many balls as they throw to me and to score as many touchdowns as I can and keep these guys super excited because I know our defense really gets excited when we as receivers make big plays and they feed off that intensity. As long as I'm here, that's going to be my motif, to help this team."
As Holmes tries to show he's still a top receiver, his chances could potentially be limited this year with the team's commitment to running the ball and the new Wildcat packages. The offense struggled heavily during the preseason, but Holmes believes this week's game plan has potential for big plays and there will be chances for the receivers.
"On Sunday everything is going to be put on the table. There's no holding back anything from running the ball 30 times to throwing it 50 times," Holmes said. "We're going to have as much fun as we can have but we gotta do it the right way. That's by getting first downs, keeping the drives going and it's by catching the ball, it's by running hard and having our offensive line just dominate every team we play this year. And that's going to be the focus."