With just six NFL seasons under his belt, Santonio Holmes is hardly a graybeard. But the 28-year-old Holmes is the Jets’ oldest receiver and he suddenly is the longest-tenured player amongst the WR corps.
“It’s now time to start over,” Holmes told me. “It’s a fresh start, new faces here, and I think it gives me better insight to myself, knowing I can lose a few pounds and come back in as if I’m the younger guy around here. I’m the oldest vet at receiver on our team right now, but I think those guys look up to me because I still have that young man’s mentality that I’m going to work every day, I’m going to outwork you, and if you try to be better than I am, I’m going to make sure I’m better than you at the end of the day.”
Many pundits believe the Jets will add another receiver in the early rounds of the draft and GM Mike Tannenbaum has 10 selections at his disposal. The Jets have the No. 16 overall selection on Thursday night and Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, Baylor’s Kendall Wright and LSU’s Rueben Randle are expected to be targeted by teams early. But Holmes is happy with the Jets’ current group that includes former Raider Chaz Schilens, sophomore Jeremy Kerley and veteran Patrick Turner.
“I love my group. These guys, the attitude they bring toward me is they want to compete harder than what Tone’s doing. They want to know if Tone did it this way, how can we do it that way plus a little bit more than Tone,” he said. “They’re asking questions, ‘Tone, what do I do here, What do I do here?’ and I just refer back to myself looking up to Hines Ward over the years and playing in Pittsburgh.”
The Jets offense has a new commander in 2012 as Tony Sparano has replaced the departed Brian Schottenheimer as coordinator. While you can expect a commitment to a physical running attack, Sparano has also stressed the importance of producing chunk plays down the field.
“His attitude, the way he grabs our attention just by his voice, he doesn’t even have to look at us or say much. It’s the tone that he uses with us that grabs everyone’s attention and we’re focused,” Holmes said. “We’re excited to have a new guy around, a bunch of new faces, just that whole drive to make change and make it better. I think everybody is open for it. I’m definitely open for it. I’m excited. I hope Mark is and the rest of the guys that want to stick around and be around these Jets for the next few years.”
Even before the Jets were back at work here in Florham Park, Sanchez and a few of the Jets’ skill players met up with Holmes in Orlando to get an early start on 2012.
“When you’re in the business world and things aren’t working out, you go and talk to each other,” Holmes said. “If things don’t look good or feel right, you go and talk to them to make sure it is so when it’s time for the presentation to come, you’re not having these same problems that you were dealing with a long time ago.”
Holmes has never been one for down time. He told me he took less than two weeks off after the season ended and then it was back to work. But he was happy his teammates joined him this spring for a few days.
“For the simple fact that Mark, Dustin, Patrick — guys who came down to work out with me — I loved it, man. We had a great three or four days working out together,” he said. “We had a chance to go out to Disney and Universal, spend some time together and just have fun. I think that’s a part of us growing up and accepting our roles as part of this team.”
Tags: Jeremy Kerley, Mark Sanchez, Patrick Turner, Santonio Holmes, Tony Sparano
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