Speaking two weeks ago following a workout with trainer Tom Shaw at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla., Holmes was asked to take on the role of general manager Mike Tannenbaum and forecast what the Jets will target in tonight’s NFL draft. The Jets own 10 picks, including the No. 16 overall selection in the first round, and most pundits see the Jets taking a pass rusher or possibly moving up for a running back.
“We’re looking for a few offensive linemen, some guys that are ready to come in and play right away,” Holmes said. “Need a few more receivers, give Mark some more weapons to throw the ball to.”
Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Holmes wants help in the trenches. Last season, prior to a Week 6 game against the Dolphins, Holmes pinned the struggles of the offense on the play of the line. In the three previous games, quarterback Mark Sanchez was sacked a combined eight times as the offense sputtered.
Holmes lamented the lack of protection, telling reporters, “If you can’t protect the quarterback for four or five seconds, there’s no point in dropping back seven yards to throw the football if [Sanchez] doesn’t have enough time.”
What resulted was a media meltdown, with the offensive line getting a bit defensive in their responses to Holmes’s criticism.
In turn, Holmes was frequently criticized by fans and the media for what was perceived as a lack of effort, including a shouting match in a fourth-quarter huddle during a Week 17 loss in Miami. Holmes was eventually benched in that game for his antics and failed to appear the following day when the players cleaned out their lockers at the team’s practice facility. Holmes remained upbeat in his comments about the upcoming season.
“Hopefully our defense comes around this year and guys are ready to go. Lforward to a big season this year,” Holmes said.
“Hopefully make it to the playoffs and finish off with the right things — holding a trophy.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.