Santonio Holmes is potentially the most important player on the New York Jets offense this season, the one wide receiver on the team that still commands major attention from opposing defenses. That's an issue for the Jets, as Santonio Holmes expects to miss the first four games of the 2013 season.
That leaves the team relying on Braylon Edwards, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley on the outside. The Jets will be looking for Clyde Gates to continue his hot start to training camp and will also have to hope that Kellen Winslow, Jr. can help pick up some of the slack in the absence of Holmes.
Can the New York Jets survive the first four games of the 2013 season without Santonio Holmes? The team will open the season looking to drag Mark Sanchez out of the doldrums that have comprised his past two seasons or will be breaking in Geno Smith as a rookie quarterback without a surefire No. 1 receiver. Santonio Holmes has told friends that he expects to miss the first four games of the season. Braylon Edwards is on a pitch count and is no longer the player he was during his first tour with the Jets. Stephen Hill has all of the tools, but injuries and inconsistency plagued him throughout his rookie season. Jeremy Kerley is a polished slot receiver, but that's his true role. Forcing him to play up as a first or second option isn't ideal.
In the past, the Jets would be looking to Dustin Keller to pick up for the receiving corps. Instead they will now turn to Kellen Winslow, Jr. and Jeff Cumberland as a potential aids to the receiving corps. Winslow is an absolute unknown as far as what he can actually bring to the table at this point and whether he can remain healthy for an entire NFL season. He played in just one game for the New England Patriots last season, catching one pass.
As training camp inched closer, it continued to sound less promising as far as Santonio Holmes starting the season able to play. The Lisfranc injury he suffered last season has been destructive to players' careers previously, and Holmes spent time simply learning how to walk again during his rehab. An injury that impacts motor skills to that extent can be traumatic to the career of any player, let alone a player dependent on exact route running and explosive speed.
The Jets open the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which could exacerbate the absence of Santonio Holmes since Darrelle Revis will be able to essentially shut down one receiver on his own and put more pressure on the lesser receiving options. The Jets then go right into two AFC East games against the Patriots and the Buffalo Bills, big-time early season games for a team needing to build confidence. The Jets then end the first quarter of the season by traveling to play the Tennessee Titans.
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