“A lot of things I had read or been told occur every day on every NFL sideline,” Lal said. “They’re just not shown. I can honestly say I’ve had to manage receivers between plays, between series, very similar things. It truly is because the good ones are so competitive they just want the ball. What makes them good is that quality, so there is frustration attached to it at times.”
Lal spoke with Holmes a few times after taking the job, but they could not discuss football until the offseason program began in April. For the past five weeks, Lal has gotten to watch Holmes work up close. Lal said Holmes has been, “very eager, very football-hungry, very competitive.”
The coaches have been able to work with the players on the field for the last three weeks. Other than Holmes, the Jets receivers are very inexperienced. Lal has leaned on Holmes to tutor the younger players.
“He loves coaching technique as much as I do,” Lal said. “So, when we go out there he’ll take his rep and then he’ll help with the technique with the rest of the guys. He knows what I’m looking for. He sees it a lot through my eyes and I see it through his eyes. It’s a good synergy I’d say.”
Lal is not the only one who has noticed Holmes’ contributions on the practice field.
“He’s been great,” said tackle Wayne Hunter, who was one of the players who fought with Holmes in Miami. “Santonio has been great. He’s been doing extra stuff that people wouldn’t believe. He’s been doing extra with Mark. He’s been doing stuff that he hasn’t done in the past. He’s been a team player, and it’s been a good change.”