It was the signature moment of the Jets’ disappointing 2011 season and it came midway through the fourth quarter of their Week 17 loss in Miami. Now, the Jets return to the scene of the crime this week.
During the final moments of a 19-17 loss to the Dolphins, the game which officially ended the Jets’ slim postseason dreams, wide receiver Santonio Holmes appeared to mentally check-out. Shoulders slumped and looking uninterested in the huddle, tight end Dustin Keller took exception to the demeanor of Holmes and got in the star receiver’s face. A shoving match ensued and Holmes was benched.
It isn’t a talking point for this team.
“No, no. We’re focused on this year; we’re focused on improving every week. We’re not focused on what happened in the past,” guard Matt Slauson said.
But what happened was a microcosm of the Jets season. A dysfunctional locker room that cornerback Darrelle Revis called “toxic” had splintered down to its lowest level in the weeks before that game. The Jets had lost their previous two games — a 45-19 blowout loss at the Eagles was followed by a disheartening effort against the Giants on Christmas Eve — and morale was bad. With slim playoff hopes heading into the game, the Jets knew their backs were against the wall so it was no surprise that Holmes eventually sunk to the lowest common denominator.
Although now, he says, “I don’t remember anything about that game, honest.”
“No, I’ll be excited to see my family when I walk into that stadium. That will probably be my focus — going in and getting this [win],” Holmes said. The enigmatic wide receiver grew up in south Flroida. “Catching as many passes as Mark [Sanchez] throws to me, blocking for my running backs and fellow receivers down the field and making as many plays as we can and hopefully we come out with a [win].”
Even though he wasn’t a part of last year’s team, first-round pick Quinton Coples said the return trip to Miami isn’t a talking point for the Jets locker room.
“I don’t want to say the guys talk about it as much; it’s more of a focus on this game,” Coples said. “It’s been about focusing on the task at hand and not anything to do with anything other than that.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.