boards a bit slow this morning so I thought I'd throw this out there. Jets WRs coach Sanjay Lal in 'complete shock' over attention given to Santonio Holmes' decision to take himself out of OTAs
BY Manish Mehta
A few weeks after new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal witnessed it in person, he still marveled at the memory of a play that revealed the precision and promise of his best wideout.
Santonio Holmes vs. Darrelle Revis.
Inside the Jets’ wide receivers’ room covered with pass formations on white grease boards, Lal explained the play from OTAs that “we’ve used as a model” this offseason.
Mark Sanchez called a 18-yard deep out pass pattern.
“It was press coverage,” Lal told me. “Tone fought the press off. He burst to his exact route depth that he was supposed to get to. He was supposed to get to 15 yards and he was pinpoint accurate on that. He snapped off, made a great catch and turned upfield. If you rewind the film, Mark threw the ball when Tone was at 13 yards. Tone runs a full two more yards with Revis all over him and then breaks when the ball was in the air.”
“You break at 15 and end at 18,” Lal explained. “He was on the money exactly. (With) contested environment --- press coverage – most receivers would have cut that off at 13 yards. I would say 99 percent of them. For Tone to go those extra two yards, fight off and make a great catch -- and for Mark to trust him and throw it when he was at 13 yards -- is huge…. Tone doing that solidified every opinion I had of him, positively. And that’s the standard he’ll be held to.”
Holmes’ goodwill trip to Germany for the U.S. troops caused him to miss nearly half of the team’s nine voluntary OTA practices.
When he returned for the final OTA session on June 7, he made headlines by pulling himself out due to “too many reps,” he said at the time, tossing his helmet and expressing his frustration to Lal. At the time, Holmes and Rex Ryan said that the receiver wasn’t injured. Before last week’s mandatory minicamp, however, Ryan revealed that Holmes had suffered a hamstring injury during that final OTA practice.
“Honestly, it was complete shock to me that this was being reported,” Lal told me of Holmes’ decision to remove himself from the June 7 practice. “Every day in every practice, I make it a point to tell the receivers -- because they run so much -- you have to keep them healthy. There’s an open book in our room: If you feel any muscle issue, we’re going to err on the side of caution, especially in June. There’s no point getting hurt in June. So, a receiver coming to the coach and saying, ‘Hey, my hammy’s tight.
Hold me down to short routes. Can you space out my routes more today?’ That’s done every day…. So I really didn’t understand what the whole story was about. It was no different than two other receivers on that same day saying the same thing to me.”
Holmes participated in individual and passing drills during the three-day minicamp, but didn’t take part in any 11-on-11 team sessions. He didn’t speak to the media last week, a violation of the league’s access policy. (NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Daily News in an email that the league has reached out the Jets regarding the matter and that “we do not expect any further issues.”).
Holmes has been criticized by his teammates for skipping a meeting organized by Sanchez in the run-up to the Jets’ final regular-season game in Miami and getting benched in the waning minutes after jawing with players in the huddle on multiple occasions.
Holmes has maintained that he has no personal regrets for that behavior.
Lal, who joined the staff after five seasons with the Raiders, admitted that it’ll take time to develop a relationship with the team’s No. 1 wideout.
“We’ve only been together six weeks,” Lal said. “You don’t really get to know your players and develop the full trust until you go through some battles together. He’s probably wondering, ‘How’s this guy going to react when we lose a game? Is he the same guy? What if there’s some adversity that happens during a game? How is it going to be handled?’ And same with me for him. So, I think it takes some time. It takes some battle testing to see really what you have.”
Holmes grew increasingly frustrated with former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer last season. Lal admitted that Tony Sparano has made it clear that he will feature Holmes’ strengths in his offense this season.