Last week, in Tone’s Flags Drawn, Chapter 1, we examined the four penalties Santonio Holmes forced the Steelers into as they tried to cover him at Heinz Field, and how rare that accomplishment was in recent Jets history.
It’s so rare that in Miami, Holmes did it again. A pass interference against CB Nolan Carroll and an illegal contact and a PI against Richard Marshall were marked off for first downs. And a hold on Marshall was declined, because of course it came on Tone’s 38-yard hookup with Mark Sanchez that set up Nick Folk’s winning field goal.
Holmes thought about it when asked how to explain this case of yellow fever he’s been inducing in opposing DBs, and he came up with a few thoughts.
“It’s Coach Sanjay [Lal] telling me to play fast,” he said. “He studied a lot of film on me, from the moment he walked in, and that’s all we’ve been talking about: How can Number 10 play faster? I think just playing faster and being smarter, knowing I have an advantage with my stride length, my speed, my quickness, my ability to catch on these defensive backs. These guys are going to play to their advantage. I would rather take the penalty if I was a defensive back than to give up a big play by Number 10.”
Needless to say, Number 10 would prefer the catch over the flag.
“It’s really messing with my catches, I can honestly say that. It’s keeping them down by having the penalties drawn,” he said. “If we can keep stats on penalties per game per player, I think those yards would add up. We can add them to our receiving yards. They really do count.”
That’s why we’ve been counting the penalties drawn against the Jets as well as those caused by the Green & White since the mid-Nineties. These numbers are not official, since the Elias Sports Bureau only recently has been even unofficially charting penalties by individual players. But what Holmes has done in three games, in addition to his nine catches for 147 yards vs. the Dolphins, has been stunning.
He already has forced eight penalties this season (seven marked off). The only Jets wideouts who forced eight penalties in an entire season since ’95 are Keyshawn Johnson (13, 1999), Wayne Chrebet (14, 2000), Laveranues Coles (eight in 2005, 10 with one coming in the playoffs in 2006), Plaxico Burress (eight last season), and Holmes (10 for 120 yards last season).
So in his three Jets seasons, Holmes has coaxed 24 flags. And by maintaining his pace of the first three games, he should end up with, oh, 42 or 43 penalties drawn this year.
But then again, with the NFL referees replacing the replacement officials this week, perhaps Tone’s flags will taper off. But Santonio’s fine either way.
“It really doesn’t make a difference who’s out there calling it,” he said. “We could have guys off the streets just come in and call fouls on the football field. It’s according to what we do and how well we execute. For me as a receiver, my job is to continue getting open and drawing penalties, no matter what.”
So far, so good.
McKnight’s Still Wanted at RB
Head coach Rex Ryan let fans — and Joe McKnight — know today that McKnight’s days on offense are not over, despite the concentration this week on his new role in the secondary.
“I think Joe misunderstood,” Ryan said at his midday news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “He still has a role on offense. It’s not that he’s being forgotten as a running back. I want him to learn the coverages and things like that on defense because the way the league is now, you almost can’t have enough corners. They’re going four or five wide receivers.
“From a talent and physical standpoint he can definitely match up. He has some natural instincts. When we used to put him on the scout team, that’s what we saw. I’m putting him in defensive meetings right now because I think he needs that. He has enough grasp on the offense. We’re going to work him on defense and he still will have a role on offense.
Thursday Injury Reports
The Jets’ injury report grew by one to 20 today with the addition of G Matt Slauson (knee), but Slauson practiced full. LB Bart Scott was elevated from not participating Wednesday to limited participation today. So was S Eric Smith (hip/ankle), while S LaRon Landry did his usual Thursday deal, sitting out practice to help keep his heel at its so far optimum level.
The Jets could get one offensive weapon back for San Francisco on Sunday but lose one as well. TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) was limited for the second day this week. “Hopefully, Dustin will be out there this week,” said Ryan. “I assume he will be.”
But rookie WR Stephen Hill’s aching hamstring, which resurfaced late in Miami, has kept him sidelined this week and could keep him out of the 49ers game.
The Niners’ five-player I-report was identical to Wednesday’s report. Isaac Sopoaga (ankle/knee), their starting NT, remained a DNP while WR Ted Ginn (ankle) and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) were limited.
Tags: Dustin Keller, joe McKnight, Keyshawn Johnson, Laveranues Coles, Matt Slauson, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Wayne Chrebet
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