New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes is no stranger to criticism.
The veteran wideout’s had his share of ups and downs in the NFL, and fair or not, to many around the league, he epitomized the Jets’ frustrations towards the end of their tumultuous 2011 season.
Some of the final images of the year for the Jets were the fuming Holmes getting into a shouting match with teammates in the huddle, then subsequently getting benched for the final drive of the year.
Santonio Holmes was frustrated. Mostly by the offensive philosophies of then-offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The inconsistent play of quarterback Mark Sanchez didn’t exactly help.
As a highly-competitive player, Holmes passion boiled over, and he could’ve (and should’ve) handled it better. He’d be the first to admit it.
Holmes may not be and may never be the most well-liked player in the league, and that’s somewhat understandable.
He wore out his welcome with the Pittsburgh Steelers despite all his accolades and Super Bowl heroics, & at times he’s rubbed people the wrong way in New York as well.
For the Jets to succeed in 2012, a more mature Holmes needs to emerge. Now 28 and in his seventh NFL season, Holmes is being counted on to be the leader of a young receiving corps that has a lot to prove this season.
When you play in New York, the media presence is formidable. This week, the embattled receiver went on Dave Dameshek’s NFL.com podcast, and he had some pointed words for the media that got a lot of attention.
“If you guys want to be — and this is for the New York media — if you guys want to be a part of our team and want to feel so important, be there to support us, not to try to break us down,” he said. Because [there’s] not one day that we all step in that locker room and we try to break each other down, that we talk bad about the way that person played, because it affects the team the way one person plays if they don’t play to perfection. So, if the New York media wants to be a part of our team and wants to continue writing about us, write positive things. Stay away from the negative, because it doesn’t do anything good for our team that you want to report all the negative things that happen and that’s all you want to talk to us players about. We live for one thing, and that’s to play football, and not to entertain you people in the media”
Many of Holmes’ detractors think it’s laughable that a player who’s set himself and his team up for so much negative attention would say something along these lines, but I think it’s important to hear him out.
His message about the media is not incorrect. Like him or not, he’s not wrong about the way the media operates in this city. The negativity and sensationalism is rampant in the mainstream media, unfortunately.
At the end of the day, Holmes acknowledges that he’s made mistakes and he knows that he needs to step up this season.
Being a true leader, leading by example, and being a positive influence on the team are some things he can to do to regain more respect in the eyes of his peers, as well as his coaches and fans.
To his credit, he’s done everything right so far since the team hired former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano as their new offensive coordinator and the Jets began installing their new offense.
Holmes has been mentoring the young wideouts and he’s repaired his relationship with Mark Sanchez. He’s been a supportive teammate and good soldier thus far, but his actions in the future will speak volumes.
Santonio Holmes needs to show the football landscape who Santonio Holmes really is. He’s been a dynamic MVP talent at times, and a lighting rod for criticism at times. It’s now or never for him, and a lot of his Jets teammates.