Burress, Holmes relish chance to do more than catch the ball
A few years back, as the Ravens played the Giants, then-Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan watched closely as a run play unfolded and moved toward him. One of Ryan’s favorite players — cornerback Samari Rolle — was dismantled by a crushing block, strewn in front of Ryan along the Baltimore sideline.
Standing over Rolle was Plaxico Burress, at the time a Giant. Ryan barked in defense of his own guy, but at the same time found out all he needed to know about Burress as run-blocker.
“I dropped him right off at his defensive coach’s feet and let him know, ‘Hey man, go get another player,’ ” said Burress, who is now a member of Ryan’s Jets.
“Samari is a good friend of mine, and I didn’t want it to be him. But when the whistle blows, there ain’t no friends.”
So far this young season, Burress, who was limited in practice Thursday because of a tender hamstring, and Santonio Holmes haven’t put up the receiving numbers some had envisioned, combining for 17 catches (33 targets) for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
Each week, their production seesaws depending on which way defenses roll their coverage.
Holmes wondered aloud Thursday if offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer knew the damage he could do with the ball in his hands.
But a statistic that has proved thoroughly consistent is the one Holmes and Burress keep between themselves, one that does not exist in the boxscore and addresses one of the main reasons Ryan became infatuated with his two lead wideouts as premiere blockers: knockdowns.
“We try to get knockdowns,” Burress said. “We see how many knockdowns we can get every week. I think I’m leading right now.”
Added Holmes: “We go into our meeting room and we just have something else to laugh about. Whether it’s knocking those guys out and making big plays, it’s always helping the team out first.”
Delivering a savage block earns them a tally. So far, Burress says he leads the competition with three.
“It’s just trying to set the tone from the start of the game,” Burress said. “It’s going to be physical and we’re going to get after it.”
Burress went up 1-0 on a fourth-quarter catch by Holmes in the season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
As Holmes wormed through the Dallas secondary, Burress peeled in at the 35-yard line and blindsided Mike Jenkins, shooting him across the television frame and momentarily knocking him out of the game.
Against the Oakland Raiders last Sunday, LaDainin Tomlinson sprang loose for a 74-yard gain on a screen pass. Burress was out front, jamming his long arms into Raiders’ cornerback Chris Johnson, forcing him to backpedal long enough for Tomlinson to get free down the sideline.
Holmes continued the pursuit shortly after, sprinting back ahead of Johnson as Tomlinson neared the goal line.
Laying out in a full-extension blow, he sent Johnson tumbling into a pit of photographers. The knockdown tally was now tied at 1-1.
“It’s pretty fun to get out and get a chance to hit those guys,” Holmes said. “Because at any moment, they’re going to take their shots and try to get us out of the game and celebrate and be excited about it.”
On Mondays, Burress and Holmes have to reel through tape that can fluster them; times when they were open and they didn’t get the ball or entire series in which Oakland bogged them down in tight zone coverage.
But there is part of them that waits for the moment to see their tally go up in the knockdown game — something that keeps Burress at the edge of his chair, waiting to relive each one.
Said Burress: “I feel it.”[/quote]
[QUOTE=Dunnie;4166403]I'm starting to feel bad for the players on Defense .. first the rules get changed to clearly slant the advantage to the offense ... and now they are targets of head hunters like this ...
... serious ... this is an awesome mindset for our guys ... I love it. =)[/QUOTE]
Absolutely. There's a lot more to playing wide receiver than just catching footballs. would be nice if we called for more outside sweeps and let Plax try to clear a hole for Shonn Greene.