Originally published: December 12, 2013 7:41 PM
Updated: December 12, 2013 8:43 PM
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – “Make someone happy with just a smile. It cures sadness!”– Santonio Holmes
on Twitter on Wednesday Santonio Holmes hasn’t had much to smile about in a season his coach admits has been “disappointing” because of injuries.
And he probably didn’t make the defensive backs of the Carolina Panthers smile Thursday.
Asked about the Panthers’ second-ranked defense, Holmes volunteered an opinion about their secondary.
“Not to call these guys out, but their secondary is probably their weakest link on their defense,” Holmes said.
Bulletin-board material? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. We’ll see how the Panthers react when the comments are relayed to them.
Carolina’s pass defense is ranked fifth in the NFL and the Jets’ pass offense is 30th out of 32 teams. So it’s not as if Holmes is speaking from a position of dominance. He did go on to praise the rest of the Panthers’ defenders.
“Their front seven are guys that are really going to get after the ball,” he said. “They have really great pass rushers. We know how physical these guys are. They rush on and off the field, sideline to sideline, and our job is to be able to play fast and keep these guys off balance and do as much as we can against them.”
Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, told of Holmes’ comments, smiled and said: “I love Santonio Holmes. If he said that, here’s the thing: They are so good up front. Their secondary now is pretty good. They play very aggressive because of that front.”
Carolina’s defense has 16 interceptions, tied with Miami for fifth in the league. The Jets have thrown 21 interceptions, tied with the Giants for most in the NFL. That wouldn’t seem to be a matchup that would favor the Jets.
Holmes wouldn’t go further and say he expects the Jets to have a big day passing the football.
“I can’t expect that,” he said. “I expect it every game, but this game will be no different. Just do my job and execute as well as I can.”
Holmes had three catches for 55 yards in the Jets’ 37-27 win over the Raiders on Sunday. For the season, he has 16 catches for 381 yards and one TD — not what the Jets expected from their No. 1 receiver, who still is not 100 percent because of foot and hamstring injuries.
“It’s been disappointing, there’s no question,” coach Rex Ryan said. “It’s because of the injuries . . . He’s just been battling different things. And that’s unfortunate because we know the kind of player Santonio can be when he’s healthy. He looks good this week and hopefully we can get him revved up.”
Said Holmes: “My season in a nutshell has not been the greatest season. Suffering the injury that I did, it’s tough to come back from, but it was a focus and a goal that I had in mind to just come back and play and do as much as I can for this team.”
Most observers believe this will be Holmes’ final season with the Jets even though he has a three-year contract. He said he’s not thinking about where he’ll be next season.
“I signed a contract this year for three years to be with the Jets,” Holmes said, “and that’s what I plan on doing is being with the Jets for three years.”
Good morning #jetnation tis’ the season of giving! Make someone happy with just a smile. It cures sadness!