A lightning rod of negativity last season, Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes is chomping at the bit to prove his naysayers wrong and return to MVP form this year. Holmes clashed with former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, expressing frustration with his diminished role on offense. New York’s mercurial wideout ended the 2011 season watching helplessly from the bench after a spat in the huddle with offensive lineman Brandon Moore. Holmes didn’t meet with the media following Gang Green’s loss in the season finale to the Miami Dolphins as the controversy swelled to reach critical levels.
Both the Jets and Holmes hit a low-point last year and appear eager to turn the page. New York’s coaching makeover ushers in a new philosophy with offensive coordinator Tony Sparano aiming to get on the same wavelength as Holmes and the rest of the offensive unit. With the arrival of Tim Tebow and Sparano expressing his desire to resurrect New York’s ground-and-pound, Holmes may have to adjust to life as a secondary option.
While New York’s coaching staff is determined to maintain a well-balanced offensive attack, Sparano is emphasizing a power-running game to set up long-yardage passing plays. Holmes plans to attend the Jets West passing camp as he attempts to get in sync with quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tebow. The Green-and-White's 21st ranked passing offense was devoid of explosive plays last season, a trend that Sparano is determined to change. Playing alongside rookie wideout Stephen Hill, Holmes will be thrust into a leadership role as the Jets will count on him to mentor the inexperienced Hill.
When focused and motivated, Holmes is on the NFL’s short list of game-breaking wideouts. With Tebow dominating the offseason headlines, the Jets will need a renaissance season from Holmes to jump start their stagnant offense. Holmes mended the fences with Sanchez as the Jets dynamic duo looks to rekindle the chemistry that had Gang Green on the verge of a Super Bowl berth in 2010. This upcoming season will mark a crossroads in Holmes’ career as another disappointing season could spell the end of his days as a New York Jet.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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