Florham Park, N.J.- Over the past couple of weeks Rex Ryan has raved about the intensity and the play of one Santonio Holmes, aka ‘Tone’. Ryan talked about the look of determination in Holmes’ eye once the fourth-quarter begins and he dubbed the closing minutes of a game to be, ‘Tone time.’
Last week, after the Cleveland game, Rex Ryan said, “I think all our guys want it. I really do, but when I see him, it’s like there’s something different. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like this guy is almost with his demeanor, his eyes, his everything, it’s like ‘Give me the football.’ You know what I mean? It’s almost like he’s convincing you. ‘Sold. I’m buying.’ It’s almost something you have to see. You can’t fake it. This guy wants it. He’s the guy on the baseball field with one out left. He’s begging to get the ball hit to him.”
Ryan knew this was just what Holmes does and that’s why they decided to trade for him.
“Well, I saw it up close and personal unfortunately that he can make a difference. He can make a difference as a receiver. Really, the video of that game, just like any other fan and anybody else, when they had him mic’d in the Super Bowl and you saw that, that’s who he is. He didn’t want it just for the one pass, he wanted it the whole drive. That’s who this guy is. I see it on the sideline. It’s an amazing thing to see. (It) really is. It’s so genuine.” Ryan said last week, “He just wants to win and he’d be more than happy if one of his other teammates made the plays and all that. When you see it, you sense when that game is tight and somebody has to step up, he wants everybody to know that he’s the guy that’s willing to step up. I’d like to see him step up in the weight room a little more, but that’s another story (smiling).”
Ryan has noticed the brewing calm of intensity on Holmes as the game moves on saying, “Oh, yeah. He builds guys up, too. Something that we talk about as a team, something that we want to be (is for) guys to build each other up. He’s one of those guys.”
Last week Sanchez agreed with his coach saying, “He’s just comfortable. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion until after the game. The whole game this guy is just calm in any situation, and it’s that demeanor from him that’s contagious. It’s awesome to see that. He’s never rattled.” Sanchez said, “I don’t think at any point in that game he thought it was ever going to be a tie. He knew we were going to somehow get down there and score or kick a field goal and win the game. You can tell just by the way he plays. He doesn’t play to get recognized, he just plays to win. He’s really getting comfortable, and he’s a deep threat. He’s an underneath threat. He’s a dangerous player, and he’s a joy to have on our team.”
As you can see Holmes had earned that label as he had made the game-winning play in the Jets last three wins, before yesterday’s game, but yesterday, ‘Tone time,’ started early and continued until the game was over.
This week, Holmes didn’t wait until the fourth-quarter to take control of this game, he proved he was going to be a difference maker in the game immediately. Holmes finished the day with seven receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns, with only six of those yards coming on his most important and final catch of the game.
Holmes did his part to give the Jets a comfortable lead, but after the Jets coughed that lead right up, Holmes was called on again to make the game-winning play and once again he came through with yet another game-winning catch to add to his resume.
“It is just me playing football. I think Woody Johnson and Rex Ryan made a great call by giving me a phone call on April 11 at about 9 p.m. I think that was the best decision that was made for myself and for this team.” Holmes said, “They brought me here for one reason, and that is to help this team win ball games, bring leadership, bring character and fight to win till the end of the game. I think them bringing me here was to contribute to all the guys we have with a little bit of fight in them. But to add one more and bring a spark to the whole team, is someone I can consider myself being.”
Holmes had made his mark early in the game, but with the game on the line he was more than ready to make one final play and as soon as he got the play call he started salivating at the idea of him catching yet another game-winning touchdown.
“When we made the call, I kind of licked my lips and looked up at Brad (Smith), and I knew this play was something we had been working on all week in practice. It just popped up and was so clean for me coming out.” Holmes said, “I knew the defender would try to strike and hit my hands down, but I just made it so he wouldn’t see my hands come up at the last minute and just catch the ball in the back of the end zone.”
With each win the Jets create more confidence, but Holmes doesn’t need anymore confidence he has already filled the maximum quota on any one player’s confidence.
“I honestly think if you give us any bit of time we’re going to finish it. As Mark said, we’ve worked on these situation every day in practice. When I first came back five weeks ago, I asked Coach Ryan, how about we implement third-downs against our No. 1 defense? How about we do our two-minute drill against the No. 1 defense?” Holmes said, “I think that has definitely prepared us for whatever may happen on the field on Sundays. It is definitely showing that we’ve put some study and effort into finishing ball games.”
It comes so easy to Holmes because it’s just what he does, it’s in his DNA, he doesn’t know any other way.
“It’s just playing football. It’s just pitching and catching a little bit, having a little fun. We definitely don’t want our fans biting all their nails off, running into walls or posts, whatever it may be.” Holmes said, “We just want them sitting in their comfortable chairs eating popcorn. But, situations happen like this and that’s what we get paid the big bucks for, to go out and continue playing football until the end.”
Snachez continues to love what he sees out of his new favorite target. “He does most of the work, to be honest. He finds a way to get open. He runs his routes really well and he’s always positive. He doesn’t say much, but when he does, it’s positive. The last drive, we’re going down, no timeouts left, less than one minute and he says, “Alright, let’s get it.” That’s it. That’s all he says.” Sanchez said, “You might think he’s asleep on the sidelines, he’s that focused. He’s dialed in. He doesn’t look at anyone else. He doesn’t think anything other than football. The guy is a gamer, obviously. He’s a great teammate, so he compliments Braylon(Edwards) really well. He compliments Dustin really well, and our running game. He’s really added to our team and we’re proud to have him.”
When Holmes was asked about his emotions during that final and was thrilled to answer.
“That was a great feeling, just to know that Mark placed the ball where only I had a chance to catch it. I ran so clean to the back of the end zone and to get my feet down in the back of the end zone, I definitely had to stop and take a mental picture of it.” Holmes said, “This is something that has happened to me before, and I prepare myself for these situations. I put myself in these situations on the sidelines, before every last drive that we’ve taken, I’m thinking what can I do to make a play for this team. The fire in my eyes and the fire in Mark’s eyes, it kind of meets. That’s what we need to do amongst all of us every week.”
As long as that fire keeps burning this Jets offensive will only get more explosive, but to get a better understanding of just how dangerous Holmes is just see what Texans corner Antonio Smith had to say about him.
“I don’t like playing Santonio Holmes. It’s like a replay of the Super Bowl and the exact same route, corner route in the back of the end zone. I don’t know what it is.” Smith said.
Cornerbacks around the league are nodding their head in agreement as it’s becoming clear Holmes is just getting started this season and, Tone time,’ is not just for the end of the game, but for every gameday all game.