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Thread: Steelers' Holmes still long on potential

          
   
   
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  1. #1
    Veteran jpele's Avatar
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    Steelers' Holmes still long on potential

    LATROBE, Pa. — Big plans fuel the lifeblood of training camps, which somewhat explains the buzz humming about the Pittsburgh Steelers' dreadlock-wearing No. 10.


    "Santonio! Santonio!" the kids screamed after a recent practice, relentless in a quest for autographs. "Santonio, please!"


    Santonio Holmes, the third-year receiver and former first-round pick, has used big plays as his signature in becoming a summer star. That he's poised for a bigger role — not only on offense, but as a situational punt returner — is no secret.


    No wonder the autograph-seekers are so passionate.


    Also apparent is that Holmes' designs for a breakout year start from the ground up.


    "Sixteen games, that's all I'm worried about," Holmes said. "That will contribute to how successful my season is going to be. If I play all 16 games as the starter. It's not about yards, catches, touchdowns or averages. Just 16 games. If I don't play 16 games, who cares?"


    Holmes started four games as a rookie, then won the job last year and missed three games with injuries. The Steelers view his determination to stay healthy as a testament to professional growth. A year ago, coach



    Mike Tomlin lit into Holmes for being out of shape.


    "I agreed with him," Holmes said. "I was tired after three or four plays, coming back to the huddle asking for a breather. That wasn't me. I just didn't train hard enough."


    After an offseason of extensive distance running and sprints, Holmes — who averaged an NFL-best 18.2-yard average on 52 catches last season — arrived this summer with something to prove. Tomlin sees it.


    "He can run all day," Tomlin says. "That's the key building block. When a guy is in condition, sharpens his skills, gets in sync with the quarterback … the results are what they are. He's better positioned to take advantage of opportunities."


    Prospects include punt returns, which Holmes did at Ohio State and as a rookie before Tomlin shut the door on that role in 2007.


    "I know he's in great shape," Tomlin says. "That's why I wasn't interested in doing it last year. But I grew up in Virginia, in an era when (Washington Redskins Hall of Famer) Darrell Green was a part-time punt-returner who showed up big in big games. When you have skills that can help the team win, you let guys do what they do."


    Holmes, who scored touchdowns on two of his three catches this summer, returned his first punts of the preseason on Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. Tomlin sees a weapon to be employed when a spark is needed, when the opponent is pinned near its goal line, or when games are at stake.
    This excites Holmes, who didn't have to lobby for the role.


    "Being away from it last year, that kind of took away from my game," he said. "It kept me from getting my hands on the ball."


    That mind-set surely extends to his flow on offense, where some expect Holmes will supplant 11th-year veteran Hines Ward as Ben Roethlisberger's top target. Ward, 32, has led the team in receptions for nine consecutive seasons and is the franchise's all-time leader with 719 catches.


    "The biggest question is, 'Who's No. 1? Who's No. 2?' I don't worry about it," says Ward, off a 72-catch season. "They can put Santonio No. 1. But we don't sit there on the board and say, 'This is No. 1, this is No. 2.



    Coverage dictates where the ball goes."


    Ward, the MVP of Super Bowl XL, seems secure despite the emergence of Holmes and selection of wideout Limas Sweed in the second round. He laughs when considering the reviews that Holmes has garnered.


    "Santonio's a great, young talent," Ward said. "This is the year he can make his name. If the media wants to give him all the attention, fine. You know what you're going to get from No. 86, so it doesn't bother me that I'm the guy talked about the least."


    Ward has seen plenty receivers come and go. He's impressed that Holmes has attacked the biggest knocks with a vengeance.


    "Usually, in your third year a light bulb comes on," says Ward. "All the talent's there. He has potential out of this world.


    "But being consistent, that's how you make a name. You can't have a great game and then disappear. That's what I'm preaching to Santonio."


    USA Today
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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Based on our past experience with drafting WR's and having little success it's nice to see us hit a home run with Holmes; the guy is money and definitely our big play target and deserving of the respect he's beginning to get from defensive backs around the league. He had a great teacher to learn from in Ward. I can't remember the last time a Steeler offense had this many weapons in it's arsenal.

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    hell yeah, imagine what its going to be like once sweed hits that three year mark as well

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    This is why I think the Steelers were not showing all thier cards Sat. night. If big things are expected out of Holmes, you would have thought that he would have been used more Sat. We really need Sweed to be a descent player, this will, with our running game, Hines , and tightends really give Santonio the single coverage that could make his season huge.


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    Draft Pick $teelersRule's Avatar
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    how do you all feel about him returning punts? i think i would rather give the job to moore. if anything happened to holmes i would be seriously questioning tomlin's decisions.

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    It depends. There is risk every time they step on the field. As a constant, I do not like it. Situational use of him in that area may be beneficial.

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    The Absolute Truth Koopa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by $teelersRule View Post
    how do you all feel about him returning punts? i think i would rather give the job to moore. if anything happened to holmes i would be seriously questioning tomlin's decisions.
    you can't play the game worrying about injuries, you got to go out and put the best players on the field no matter what to get that W, if holmes is our best chance at getting good field position on punt returns, then i'm all for it, you can't baby these guys, best players need to be on the field no matter what, and no one should worry about injuries cause they are a part of the game and there is no controlling it, holmes can just as easily get hurt making a catch as he can returning the ball, it's a 50/50 chance of getting hurt every play, either you get hurt or you don't........ no point in worrying about it
    "SA, it's more than a FEVER it's an ADDICTION" -BlacknGold Bleeder

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    TampaSteelGirl's Avatar
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    this guy is getting better and better every year! I was listening to Sirius Blitz this morning and they say he's going to have a fabulous year this year! He's getting better!


    Thanks Steelers086 for my awesome signature!!!




    Thanks for the new avatar SteelerBee!

  9. #9
    Draft Pick $teelersRule's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koopa View Post
    you can't play the game worrying about injuries, you got to go out and put the best players on the field no matter what to get that W, if holmes is our best chance at getting good field position on punt returns, then i'm all for it, you can't baby these guys, best players need to be on the field no matter what, and no one should worry about injuries cause they are a part of the game and there is no controlling it, holmes can just as easily get hurt making a catch as he can returning the ball, it's a 50/50 chance of getting hurt every play, either you get hurt or you don't........ no point in worrying about it
    thats a really good point, this IS football. i was just saying he will most likely make a much bigger impact as a receiver than as a retuner and like you said its 50-50 so why chance it and have him out there if moore did it all last year with the vikings and was successful? if moore goes down it should not be as much of a hit than if our possible number 1 receiver goes down.

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    Good thing Holmes is going to bring the glory back to the Number 10 Jersey for the steelers!

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