Update, 9:32 p.m. ET
A lot has been written and spoken about the newness of the Jets’ passing game — Mark Sanchez throwing to Plaxico Burress, Sanchez throwing to Derrick Mason, Sanchez syncing up with all three of his veteran wideouts.
Perhaps not so much time has been expended on the Sanchez-to-Santonio Holmes connection, because that’s the one constant from last year. But of course opponents can’t afford to fall asleep on that dynamic duo. The two hooked up for the first touchdown of the Sunday night win over Cincinnati, and they were at it again for the “winning” TD of Tuesday’s two-minute drill to end practice.
“Aw, sweet. That was a sweet catch. Ohmigod,” Sanchez gushed about Tone’s diving comeback catch at the pylon. “I thought it was better than the Super Bowl catch that he had a couple of years ago, better than the Houston Texans catch. It was sick. Even guys on defense looked like ‘Man.’ You get a guy who does that in practice, it’s no surprise why he can do it on gameday.”
Better than that side-of-the-end-zone tiptoe snare from Ben Roethlisberger with 35 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIII?
“I wouldn’t agree with that one,” Holmes said with a smile at his own group interview today. But, he agreed, “It was a pretty good catch. To have it happen at the end of practice in simulated game mode against our ones on defense, it was actually a great play for us and a great way to start the chemistry on knowing where to be at the right time.”
Another significance of that connection is that it was from captain to captain. Sanchez and Holmes were named the two permanent offensive captains by head coach Rex Ryan for this season. Captaincy, of course, encompasses many aspects, plays on the field being one along with plays, hard work and consistency in practice and teaching and encouragement for teammates young and old.
I talked with Tone this afternoon on a story on the first year of permanent Jets captains under Rex that I’m working on for newyorkjets.com‘s annual Daily News season kickoff supplement that will be out in the days before the Cowboys game on Sept. 11. The one thing that I found interesting was that Santonio said he had never been named a season-long captain before on any level of football.
Was that a title he would’ve liked?
“Kinda sorta, it was,” he said. “I’ve always had great players on my teams from high school to college. I just led by example. When I never got chosen to be captain, I never shied away from what I was capable of doing. I think just me leading by example is what has helped me to be where I am today. I never asked to be put in the spotlight. I just always stole it when it was my time to shine.”
As for his fellow offensive captain, Holmes thinks Sanchez is still early in his learning and growth curves but he’s got a big leadership trait working in his favor.
“I think the thing he has that is different from [Big Ben and other QBs] is that he constantly stays in the film room, he’s always trying to make himself better, he’s always working on his mechanics during practice, after practice,” Holmes said. “I think the more time he spends here, the better he’s going to get throughout the future.”
As for the near-term future, Sanchez-to-Holmes has gotten off to a quick start. Now they’ll have to sustain it once the regular season arrives in , oh, about 18 days.
Ryan said at his late-morning presser today that he anticipates all his players will be ready to go against the Giants on Saturday night, except for Rob Turner (leg), Mark Brunell (calf) and Trevor Canfield (knee), with TE Jeff Cumberland (hamstring) as “iffy.” … WR Plaxico Burress came down with low-back stiffness as a result of an awkward landing after a catch on Tuesday. But as Plax told concerned reporters, “I wouldn’t quite call it an injury. I’d say it’s a little sore,” adding that in playing football, “You’ve got to expect these things. It’s not like walking to the Seven-11. It’s a little more physical.”
Bart Scott was asked if he could assure that his teammates wouldn’t be chowing down on cheeseburgers before their Hofstra practice on Thursday night, as they were spotted doing at last year’s Long Island practice session. “No, it’ll be Krabby Patties,” he said of this year’s menu. Krabby patties, needless to say, are the featured fare at the Krusty Krab on Spongebob Squarepants. I asked Bart if he’s a fan of Spongebob or if it’s from absorbing the show through his kids’ TV habits. “It’s the kids,” Bart said, “but I know all the characters — Squidward, Patrick Star, Mr.Krabs.” Something else about Spongebob that might grow on Bart as well as football fans everywhere: The show’s creators often borrow from the NFL Films Music library for its background music.
Comings and Goings
Ryan announced that former Notre Dame OL Chris Stewart was waived. Why cut Stewart when there seems to be a depth issue behind the first O-line? Rex: “I’m not a coach that likes to just keep a guy knowing the end result is you’re going to cut him. The way [Matt] Kroul is coming on, and we like this [Zane] Taylor kid from Utah, it’s the right thing to do, give this kid an opportunity to maybe catch on someplace else.
FB Brian Toal, waived Tuesday, was in a similar boat. “He is a good football player,” Rex said, “but we’re going to keep one fullback and it’s John Conner. And there’s probably one other guy that’s a phonecall away if something would happen to John. So I just feel you’ve got to give a guy a chance. If you know in your heart of hearts it’s going to go in a different direction, you need to be honest and give that young man an opportunity. I think that’s what we did in both those cases.”
The Jets also have announced they have waived LB Brandon Long, and they have signed a new safety, Tracy Wilson (6’2″, 203). Wilson was in Monday’s NFL Supplemental Draft (the “Terrelle Pryor Draft”) but went unselected and became an undrafted free agent.
And they announced this evening that at the end of the NFL day, they were awarded T Nevin McCaskill (6’4″, 300) on waivers from Pittsburgh. If you recognize the name, that could be because McCaskill was a Jet in their 2009 training camp. He’s also made stops with the Bills, Packers, Eagles, Dolphins and Titans before the Steelers since entering the league as an undrafted FA with the Bills in ’07. And like third-round rookie Kenrick Ellis, McCaskill played his college ball at Hampton.
Tags: Bart Scott, Derrick Mason, Mark Sanchez, Plaxico Burress, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes
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