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05-23-2007, 10:48 AM
The Pittsburgh Steelers have made more changes in their coaching staff than they have on the field. Santonio Holmes hopes to reward those new coaches for their confidence in him.


PITTSBURGH – The last play of last season was exactly what the Steelers envisioned when they moved up to draft Santonio Holmes in the first round of the 2006 draft.

So, could it – the electric 67-yard catch-and-run touchdown to beat the in overtime – be a springboard to a breakout season?

“You hope,” said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. “You hope that it makes him hungry and not relaxed. It’s my job to make sure he’s not relaxed.”

And? Has Holmes been hungry or relaxed?

“He’s hungry,” Arians said. “He’s working good. Just get those little nagging injuries -- that hamstring -- healed and he’ll be alright.”

Holmes has played through the aches and he’s feeling good. In fact, he’s thinking he could catch 100 passes this season.

It appears he’ll get the chance. Through two minicamps and an O.T.A., Holmes has been the first-team split end opposite flanker Hines Ward. Holmes, in fact, is the only end-of-season replacement who’s retained his first-team status this spring. Willie Colon hasn’t. Neither has Bryant McFadden or Anthony Smith; just Holmes.

“The confidence level is way higher than it was last year,” Holmes said. “The comfort level at the same time is high because I know what I’m doing and the coach is giving me more opportunities now to make more plays on the field.”

What a difference a year makes. Last year, Holmes was back in Columbus, Ohio instead of spring workouts because his class hadn’t taken final exams. He then found himself in legal difficulties that are now behind him.

He’s a new man. Arians was asked to quantify that difference.

“He already knows French and we’re working on Spanish,” Arians said. “Light years. Any rookie that comes in this time of year, his head’s swimming with terminology. And that part’s not the problem anymore, (it’s now) just getting his techniques and finding more ways to be explosive.”

Can he be the explosive deep threat the Steelers need?

“No question,” Arians said. “The last four games he showed it last year.”

Holmes started the last four games last season and caught 16 passes for 320 yards (20.0 avg.) and a touchdown. It started with an 81-yard game against Cleveland. Against Carolina, he returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown. Against Baltimore, “he beat one of the best corners, (Chris) McAllister, deep twice,” Arians said. And against Cincinnati there was that walk-off slant-and-go and the career-high 124 receiving yards.

“He can run deep and catch it; he can catch the short one and go deep with it,” Arians said. “So, yeah, he’s exactly what we were hoping for.”

That last play “probably put a target on my back,” Holmes said. “Well, not even on my back, but right in the middle of my chest because a lot of guys are going to see that, (and say) okay, this is an explosive guy that’s ready to play every time he steps on the field, no matter what the situation is.”

It’ll help if Holmes improves his chemistry with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. At the end of last season, Roethlisberger admitted that he needed to spend more time with the wide receivers. Holmes said he’s living up to the promise.

“We spend a lot more time together running individual routes during practice and just getting on the same page,” Holmes said. “He’s been going with myself, Hines, Ced (Wilson) and Nate (Washington), working with the first four guys a lot more.”

And what of the new offense? How will Holmes be affected?

“Not at all,” he said. “The only thing really different is probably our terminology. We still have the same guys around so we’re still able to do the same things we did last year.”

And what about next year? What are Holmes’s goals?

“My goal is to double the catches,” he said. “To increase everything at least double what I did last year.”

That would come to precisely 98 catches for 1,648 yards and four touchdowns.

And two walk-off touchdowns.

By Jim Wexell
Posted May 22, 2007

If that last play of last year was any indication of what we will be seeing this year, Holmes will have one hell of a season. I can't wait to see how the rest of our WR's will get with it and help contribute. We need everybody to step it up a notch or two.

05-23-2007, 11:48 AM
I hope this young man proves to be the next Jerry Rice:bigthumb::crossfingers:

05-23-2007, 12:00 PM
That would come to precisely 98 catches for 1,648 yards and four touchdowns.
If Holmes can have those types of numbers that would be pretty damn impressive because that equates to 6 catches, 103 yards and an average of 17 yards per catch! :cope: With Ward on the other side that's over 3000 yards in two receivers.

Holmes really came on the end of last year and if he can continue that success he'll really take some load of Ward and cause secondaries to panic. It's going to be awesome!

05-23-2007, 12:09 PM
Thats excatly what we need an offense that can do it all. Catch the ball and run it right up the middle!!!!:tt02::tt02::tt02::tt02::tt02::tt02:

05-23-2007, 12:13 PM
hmm this guy looks pretty impressive to me.

05-23-2007, 01:28 PM
I hope this young man proves to be the next Jerry Rice:bigthumb::crossfingers:

Maybe not Rice... i def see him being a Steve Smith or Santan Moss type! He's quick... REAL quick he has the ability to take a 10 yard out (or slant as we all saw) to the house every play! We should scheme him, throwing 10-20 yard paterns to him early in the game. That will get Bens confidence up with some easy throws and at the same time tightens up coverage on Santonio. Once guys get up on him at the line and try to play bump and run with him is when he should start beating people on fly and post paternts deep!!! I love Homes' ''UPSIDE" i think if he is willing to be a student of the game he can be a GREAT player in this league!!!

PS: Look out for Dallas Baker too! this guy played in Urban Meyer's system and in '06 had 60-rec for 920yrds 10-td's... they ran 4 wide OFTEN at florida so he never really had a chance to be a break out type of guy like say Jarrett or Johnson did last year. This guy at 6'3" or 6'4" could be a player!!!

05-23-2007, 03:04 PM
i really like holmes, i was excited when we moved down to get him, and he had a very good year, maybe not on special teams, but he should've never been there, cowher is just a retard and just stuck him there cause he didn't want willie ried at the beginning of the season to be back there for some odd *** reason.......... this year teams will focus on him more, so if he doesn't have the same numbers don't start crying Troy Edwards..... but it might be a good thing if he doesn't have huge numbers, cause it will open the field more if teams are putting focus on him, ward will have a better year, heath will have a better year, willie will have more room to run......... damn i can't wait for the damn season to start lol