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View Full Version : It's all elementary for Santonio Holmes



SteelCityMan786
10-07-2006, 06:36 PM
http://postgazette.com/pg/06279/727873-66.stm


Friday, October 06, 2006
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After three games, rookie Santonio Holmes has five catches for 45 yards. Numbers that seem modest, if not meager, for a No. 1 draft choice, especially the first wide receiver selected in the National Football League draft.

Holmes' production, though, is not uncommon for a rookie receiver in the NFL.

Even if he continues at that pace, Holmes would finish the season with 26 catches and 240 yards, which would amount to more catches than Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward had in their rookie seasons with the Steelers. And nearly as many catches as Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson had in their rookie seasons.

Even if he continues at that pace, Holmes would finish the season with 26 catches and 240 yards, which would amount to more catches than Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward had in their rookie seasons with the Steelers. And nearly as many catches as Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson had in their rookie seasons.

Few rookie receivers burst into the league like Randy Moss, who had 1,313 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns as a rookie with the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. There are many more like Ward, who had 15 catches as a rookie, and Carolina's Steve Smith, who has 191 catches and 19 touchdowns in his past two full seasons with the Carolina Panthers after catching 10 passes as a rookie.

"It's hard to come in and learn on the run, to see coverages while you're running," Ward said. "You're doing a lot of thinking and. when you're doing a lot of thinking, you're not running as fast. You're really not sure of your routes."

That's why Holmes, the team's fourth receiver, is not worried how many catches he has with the Steelers (1-2), who will try to re-invent their passing game Sunday night against the San Diego Chargers (2-1). Nor are the coaches trying to force-feed him to an offense that has received minimal production from its wide receivers after three games.

"It's just the speed of the game, learning at the same time you're trying to run on the fly," Holmes said. "But I feel pretty comfortable overall. Right now, I'm above 60 percent overall where I feel comfortable running routes at a fast pace."

The player who holds the Steelers' record for rookie receptions -- Troy Edwards -- has had a career that spiraled in the opposite direction after his rookie season.

The 13th player selected overall in 1999, Edwards had a club-record 61 catches as a rookie, a number that far exceeds the rookie production of other more famous Steelers' receivers such as Swann (11), Stallworth (16), Burress (22) Ron Shanklin (30) and Louis Lipps (45).

Since 1999, only two rookie wide receivers in the NFL have managed more catches in their first season than Edwards -- Arizona's Anquan Boldin (101) and Houston's Andre Johnson (66), each in 2003. Players such as Owens (35) and Johnson (28) did not have nearly as many as Edwards had as a rookie.

But those players elevated their production by their second season, once they became comfortable with their assignments and had a better understanding of opposing defenses. Ward had 46 more catches in his second season; Smith had 44 more and Johnson 41. None, though, made as dramatic a leap as Isaac Bruce, who had 21 catches as a rookie in 1994 and 119 in his second season.

Edwards has gone the other way. His only other productive season was 2004, when he caught 50 passes in 16 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In six NFL seasons, he has 203 receptions and bounced around to four teams.

"It has something to do with the complexity of the offenses and maybe, more importantly, the defenses," said former Buffalo Bills president Tom Donahoe, who was the Steelers' director of football operations when they drafted Edwards. "The coverages they see up here compared to college and, really, the quality of the defensive backs ... if you have a good receiver in college you can usually create a mismatch and get that receiver on somebody not good enough to cover him. It's hard to do [that] in the NFL."

"Because of the different coverages you see, especially because of the talent of the guys who cover them, you have a lot of adjustments you have to make as a receiver," said offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, a former NFL tight end. "It's almost like a learning curve for a quarterback -- you have to see things and learn from them because there's a lot of information you're trying to digest as you're on the move. It's tough."

Because receivers are thinking and not running at full speed, that hinders their ability to be in the proper spot on timing routes. And quarterbacks often throw to spots, based on the timing of the route.

Cedrick Wilson said the same thing happened to him last season in his first year with the Steelers, even though he had spent the four previous years in the league. He was learning a new offense, new terminology, and some of the indecision caused him to not play as fast and not be in the proper spot on pass routes.

Wilson's production increased as he became more comfortable with his assignments. After catching nine passes for 161 yards in the first eight games, he had 17 catches for 290 yards in the next seven. In the postseason, he caught nine passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns.

"When you know it, you play fast," Wilson said. "But, when you're thinking, it's kind of hard to play fast."

(Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1466. )

Black@Gold Forever32
10-07-2006, 06:43 PM
Yea I know rookie WR's usually struggle in their first year. But its still fustrating seeing a 7th round pick like Marques Colston from the Saints kicking *** and playing well. Then seeing our first rounder struggle. But I'm far from giving up on Santonio. I expect him to improve as the season goes on and we really will see the real play making Holmes next year.

K Train
10-07-2006, 06:50 PM
The guy has great hands and speed and has made some nice catches thus far, as long as he doesnt regress we'll be fine.

AZ_Steeler
10-08-2006, 12:25 AM
I truly feel that once the other receivers start to pick up their game, and of course Ben too, that Holmes will really start to emerge as something great and make some noise. Opposing defenses will at least need to consider him when strategizing against the Steelers offense :crossfingers:

Koopa
10-08-2006, 12:51 AM
i think holmes is doing good, ppl act like he's a starter...he's a fourth stringer on our team....ward, wilson, and washington (wtf is with the wr's last names staring with a w lol) are in front of him....so ppl expecting a **** load of yards and catches need to rethink what they are expecting cause it ain't gonna happen this year......just wait till next year when wilson is gone and he's competeing with washington for number 2, possibly number one cause ward is not a true number 1, he's only number one by default cause we are not that great at wr

SteelCityMan786
10-08-2006, 12:55 AM
i think holmes is doing good, ppl act like he's a starter...he's a fourth stringer on our team....ward, wilson, and washington (wtf is with the wr's last names staring with a w lol) are in front of him....so ppl expecting a **** load of yards and catches need to rethink what they are expecting cause it ain't gonna happen this year......just wait till next year when wilson is gone and he's competeing with washington for number 2, possibly number one cause ward is not a true number 1, he's only number one by default cause we are not that great at wr

I guess after R, the Rooney's Favorite letter is a W.

Steelersfan
10-08-2006, 01:28 AM
I'm not concerned with Holmes right now because he is a rookie. He has played decent and hasn't made any huge mistakes and that is all you can ask for. I would like to see our other WR's start doing something though.

BlitzburghRockCity
10-08-2006, 02:27 AM
As long as he continues to progress and learn the game, he'll be fine. We have enough talent around him at WR and a good coaching staff to help him along.

It is time for our wideouts to step up and be accounted for, assuming begins to get back to form they should come right along with him.

BlacknGold Bleeder
10-08-2006, 10:15 AM
Wilson and Washington need to step it up to help out Ward. IF,notice big if, they can do that it would really open things up for the offense.It would also help Holmes because then you could just send him on fly paterns and he wouldn't have to think so much !!!

BBG7
10-08-2006, 03:07 PM
I'm not worried about Santonio yet. I think he is playing fine for his role. I really feel that all of our recievers need to get on the same page with Ben and things will start to come together for the offense as a whole.

SteelCityMan786
10-08-2006, 03:30 PM
I'm not gonna push santonio to be this "Superstar wide-out" in his rookie season. Sorta like when was a rookie. It's gonna take time for Santonio to became the good receiver he should be. Santonio has showed some signs of being a good pick up from this year's draft. I hope he continues to get better with every game he plays.

Black@Gold Forever32
10-08-2006, 05:15 PM
Yea I agree that much shouldn't be expected from rookie WR's in their rookie years. But today another rookie WR made some big plays like he has done all year. The WR I'm talking about is Greg Jennings from the Packers. That kid is playing great. I don't expect Holmes to carry our passing by no means. But he has to start playing better and stop looking lost at times.

K Train
10-08-2006, 05:17 PM
Today is the day the passing game comes together...now if it would only hurry up and be 830

suitanim
10-08-2006, 08:05 PM
While Ben was struggling, and #1 Ward was off the page and/or injured, it's impossible to expect a rook to have breakout #'s...in fact, it usually takes quality WR's 2 full years before they have their breakout season.