Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, and the Importance of Timing


Dec. 11, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (10) celebrate after a touchdown is scored during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

They had their problems in 2011, blown out of proportion or not. They worked on their relationship during the offseason, and whether or not they are best friends, they seemed to be ready to go.

Santonio Holmes has taken on a leadership role thus far in the offseason, teaching up his fellow wide receivers. All of this is great. But, there is one major issue.

He hasn’t been able to get out on the field. Santonio hurt his ribs in the Green and White game up in Cortland, and hasn’t seen the field yet in the preseason. Finally, Holmes will take the field tomorrow night against the Carolina Panthers. The Jets will be extremely cautious with him, likely limiting his plays.

Coach Ryan has also announced that the starters will not play at all during the fourth preseason game on Thursday. What that does, is makes tomorrow night’s game even more important. Why? Timing. Mark and Santonio better start getting their timing down tomorrow night. Don’t diminish its importance.

No matter how long a quarterback and a wide receiver have worked together, the timing always has to be re-established. The offseason will always do that to a QB/WR duo. You have to get that going. You can do a lot of it during workouts. Just getting the feel of throwing to each other in training camp is part of it. But it is only part.

A wide receiver must get in reps with his quarterback in game situations as well. Look at all of the great quarterbacks, and how their offenses run when they run well. The timing between the quarterback and his wide receivers is nothing short of perfect. When our friend Tom Brady drops back, he knows where Wes Welker is before he even gets there. Same with the rest of his wide receivers. You can look all around the league, and it’s the same thing. How? Timing.

Mark has to get used to Santonio Holmes running routes in a game again. What routes does he like to run? Where does he like the football? How long does it take Santonio Holmes to run a 10 yard in cut, for example? These are all questions that important to answer. They are also questions that can only be answered to a point in practice. They need reps in a game. The speed is different, and playing against live opponents is different.

The offense has not gotten the ball downfield at all this preseason. Neither Mark Sanchez nor Tim Tebow are averaging over 5 yards per pass so far, which in no way will cut it. Tony Sparano speaks of a vertical passing game that is essential. This isn’t it.

We have talked about the offensive line’s role in downfield passing. Well, having guys like Santonio Holmes on the field will play an obvious role in that as well. Can Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez begin to connect on passes that are actually downfield, and stretch the field a bit? Doing so will only serve to help the running game get off the blocks.

They have to get their timing down in order to do this. They need reps. The reps are finally here tomorrow night, and they won’t be coming Thursday night against the Eagles.

The Jets had better make good use of those reps, that is all I am saying.