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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Updated: December 22, 3:00 PM ET
Santonio Holmes rips Giants' secondary

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- This time, New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes didn't step on a football and flap his arms like an eagle, but he was guilty of taunting again.

Three days after one of the worst games of his career, Holmes criticized the New York Giants' embattled secondary, spilling more bad blood as the two local rivals prepare for Saturday's showdown at MetLife Stadium.

"They've given up big plays," Holmes said. "They're poor-tackling guys. There are plays to be made over their head. We have to be willing to take advantage of that, and make it count."

The Giants are 29th in pass defense, having allowed 58 plays of at least 20 yards. They've experienced an inordinate number of mental mistakes, leaving uncovered receivers. It's no wonder they've allowed three 300-yard passing days in the last four games.

Their most consistent defensive back has been Corey Webster, but Holmes didn't sound too impressed.

"I can't wait to see him on Saturday," Holmes said. "I hope he's ready to bring his A game."

Asked if he agrees with the assessment that Webster has played well, Holmes said, "I couldn't care less."

Holmes suggested that the Giants' cornerbacks rely too much on their front four to pressure the quarterback into quick throws. He said "those guys fall victim to a lot of that," meaning they get into in trouble if required to cover for an extended period.

Say this for Holmes: He still has his swagger.

"I've been in this league for six years, I make plays every Sunday," he said, downplaying the notion that he might be anxious to redeem himself.

Holmes didn't seem humbled by his poor performance in Philadelphia, where he lost a fumble (returned for a touchdown), dropped a pass (intercepted on the deflection) and received an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for taunting -- in the first 20 minutes of the 45-19 loss to the Eagles.

The penalty occurred during an end-zone celebration when the Jets were trailing, 28-10. Holmes incurred the wrath of fans, many of whom flooded call-in shows to vent about his senseless penalty. Later, he apologized to coach Rex Ryan, who went easy on his $9 million-a-year wide receiver.

Holmes bristled when asked if he received any flak from Ryan, saying, "Did you see him yell at me on the sideline? Did you see him say anything to me?"

No, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was upset with the penalty, barking a question to Holmes as he walked by him on the sideline. Holmes kept going and finally was stopped by quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, who leaned into him and said something.

Holmes, who has been critical of Schottenheimer in the past, said he has a "great" relationship with him. He also said, "Our relationship is offensive coordinator, wide receiver."

He said Schottenheimer had a right to be upset with him.

Schottenheimer said he simply told Holmes the last thing they needed to do in that situation, facing such a large deficit, was give momentum back to the Eagles.

Now the Jets have to move past that debacle, focusing on the Giants' maligned defense. They've faced some poor pass defenses, including the New England Patriots (twice), but the Jets have been reluctant to stray from their run-first philosophy.

It has to be frustrating for the wide receivers; they've become afterthoughts in the offense. Over the last three games, Plaxico Burress has only four receptions, the least productive three-game stretch in his career. It's hard to believe, but neither Burress nor Holmes has a 100-yard receiving day.

Holmes evidently believes they can have a breakout game against the Giants. Schottenheimer wasn't ready to go there.

"There's some things that we think we can take advantage of, but ... you're not going to do it by just saying it," he said. "You've got to go out and execute."

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.