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Sanchez-to-Santonio: Aye-Aye, Captains

Posted by Randy Lange on August 24, 2011 – 3:37 pm

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.

Rex Cetera

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.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Sanchez-to-Santonio: Aye-Aye, Captains”

  1. By wayne on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    That anyone thought that Braylon Edwards was the guy to keep, Ira, was beyond explanation. They are wideouts not blockers. Who cares if they can block……If they can that’s a bonus, but you don’t choose to keep one based on who’s the better blocker unless they’re equal. THEY ARE NOT…………..Before one more game is played, we already know Holmes was the guy to keep. If only Plax could stay healthy the position would have to be considered upgraded. Sadly I don’t believe he can………………Of course there’s always Mr. Moss waiting in the wings…….Maybe that’s why Jets are holding cap space so tight. Pass rusher and or Randy?

  2. By IRA on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    Wayne, It will be OL and maybe a RB after the cuts. Yes i was all on the Edwards bandwagon. Sure Holmes is the better WR but you can’t take away what Edwards did for them last year and his blocking was a huge part of their success in the running game. Lets see how they seal off the edges this year when they run outside the tackles.
    Still i am very happy Holmes got his deal. I can’t remember the last time off the top of my head that the Jets struck so fast for a TD with a pass after an INT.

  3. By Randy Lange on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    Ira, you’ve given me a few assignments today. The last time the Jets passed for a touchdown on the first play after an interception was in the 2008 preseason opener at Cleveland. With Brett Favre observing on the sidelines, Eric Barton picked off Brady Quinn and on the next play Brett Ratliff hit David Clowney for a 71-yard TD. In the regular season, Thomas Jones had a TD run after an INT at Tampa Bay in 2009, and Curtis Martin had TD runs in ’01 and ’02, both vs. Miami, after Dolphins fumbles. But to meet all of your qualifications, the last RS touchdown pass after an INT was in 2001 at Buffalo: Marvin Jones picked off Rob Johnson, then Vinny Testaverde hit Richie Anderson with a 4-yard TD pass.

  4. By THUNDER LIPS on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    something is up with them leaving cap room.

    the key to this year is the passing game because if the passing game is respected we will be able to run the ball much more effectively and keep our defense off the field, rested, and less chance of injury. i lvoe the new guys on the d line, ellis is a beast, and pitituoa is looking really good. i love how he can sneak a long arm in there between the tackle and guard and trip up the rb. open field tackling also must be addressed. we need to take this guys down on the first shot, not the third. that has been a problem for the past 2 years. if we can address these things we will be golden.

  5. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    Not that it’s any revelation, wayne, but I agree with you on Holmes vs. Edwards. And hey Charliejet, the Same Old Jet Fan thing I’m talking about is people on this site who were actually skeptical — hello, uncle joe and MJV — of Holmes’ obviously off-the-charts talent. If a guy with a track record like THAT isn’t considered a tremendous pickup, who would be?! Thankfully, he proved on the field that he’s the guy so that’s over with, though I would’ve like to keep Edwards and see him mature into his prime with us. Problem is he doesn’t seem ready to mature off the field, so that makes it tough to give him a long-term contract. And then he asked for the moon in a yr when the salary cap went down, so he’s gone. WR life goes on just fine.

  6. By commentman on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    @wayne, Plax hasn’t had a serious injury yet, in the 1st case, he tweaked his ankle and couldn’t have a trainer look at it cuz he wasn’t allowed to practice with the team, Rex and him said if there were a real game he would have played, and for this injury it is just him falling on his back wrong, and they will probably take precautions like last time.

  7. By Gabriel on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    I think they will go for more pass rushers or maybe more offensive weapons for Mark Sanchez to use

  8. By jack on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    M Irvin seemed very high on Maybin, Hope we got back what we lost with the gholston pick we’ll have to wait and see if the change of scenery will work

  9. By 38 year fan on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    I would have liked to keep Braylon as well ….He’s a Great superstar reciever, I can’t but help to think of how it could have been with Burress , Edwards ,and Holmes all together …

  10. By 38 year fan on Aug 24, 2011 | Reply

    Plaxico is the best reciever in football …we are lucky to have him . That’s including Larry Fitzgerald …And Anquan Boldin …

  11. By Jet fsn in VA on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    @ 38 yr fan: I have been a Jet fun over 30 yrs as well. I understand your excitement but Mets be a little realistic here. Burress is the best WR in football?!? He wasn’t near the best before he was a 34 yr old who hasn’t played in two yrs with maybe the exception of maybe a few prison yard games. He definitely isn’t near the best now. Let’s keep it real here. I can understand why some other fans hate Jet fans mouths when we say something as nuts as that. I hope that he is still very good. Best?!? Next thing to come out is LT is still one of the best RBs in the game. Get excited but not insane.

  12. By Christopher on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    I’ll never forget Braylon draging 2 defenders into the end zone against the Pats. You could almost feel his intensity. Over the course of the season he will surely be missed (the run game will hurt because of it too), but its on Sanchez to be better this year. Plax is a real good receiver, and they could have had Holmes, Plax, and Edwards, but that leaves less room for Keller. So its on Keller to improve as well, especially when needed to block. I’m excited to see this team go. Pray for a healthy season and you never know, but I’ll be rooting, yelling, critizing shotty, and going nuts this year. Let’s bring it home.

  13. By GaryC on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    38 year fan, Burress, best receiver in football,never has a receiver benefitted more by having one good playoff season then this guy,If, and that is a BIG IF this guy stays on the field all year I guess he will be up their with Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin.

  14. By Raime78 on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    Burress will be a pro bowl select this year and will demand big bucks next year, He will give the JETS a huge lift in the red zone this year. To be honest Mason is the only WR that I’m kind of concerned with. He is getting up in age and in the NFL a slot receiver can really get smashed. I hope that Shotty puts in more play actions and boot legs this year. Mark is really amazing rolling out. Anyone thing that there is any chance that Maybin doesn’t make the team???

  15. By THUNDER LIPS on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    the thing about Plaxico is that his size and athleticsm even at 34 are unmatched. did anyone catch the Espn Science Zone special on him where they determined that he has a 2800 cubic feet zone around him where he can catch a ball (or where a quaterback can throw the ball and he can still catch it). apparently that is most in nfl history by far. hopefully he stays health. if he is even 90% of what he was defenses are going to have a big dilemma on their hands … who do you double team him or holmes. and if they throw more dbacks in there to cover them, we should be able to run all over them.

  16. By Raime78 on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    Also anyone think that this RB Chris Jennings should be given a spot on the team. I was very impressed with the way he cut back and even waited for the play to develope not like Bilal Powell who just kept running into the backs of our O-line.

  17. By Jet Fan Tom Since '64 on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    Another good game from Jennings and another nothing game from Powell and I think you’ll be right, Raime78.

  18. By doctorjoe on Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

    WE will be very competative this season . PRE- SEASON means nothing after .6 games lets talk about the new players and the ones that left.

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