As Rex Ryan and the New York Jets battle through the grueling summer months, the long-time Jet coach has a lot on his plate when it comes to getting the team ready for this upcoming NFL season. With all the questions marks surrounding the Mark Sanchez/Geno Smith duel at quarterback, it comes as little surprise that the receivers are the ones making most of the mistakes.
"You should catch the football," spoke Ryan tersely. "That's your job. Certainly we know we have to do a better job but I expect it to happen immediately. So we'll have to try to fix that one way or the other. If that's with other players, so be it. If that's guys stepping up and focusing and concentrating more, doing something that should be natural to them, that's a possibility also."
Perhaps the most alarming sign of the Jets receiver woes is that they are spread across the board. Ryan did not single out one player as being any worse than the other. But stated that he can't fathom what the reason could be, whether it was a lack of conditioning or a lack of focus. His comments on the job of the receiver sent an alarming message throughout the locker room.
"To me, if you're a receiver, it's hard to expect to make a football team or have a huge contribution if you can't catch the football or you're not consistently catching the football."
When asked about whether the Jets would pursue another veteran wideout to add to their lineup, Ryan would not go into any specifics but stated that the team would look at all possibilities that could make their football team better. One name that has been mentioned in rumors is Braylon Edwards, a former Jet who jumped around between San Francisco, Seattle and back to New York last season but couldn't bring his game back to life. In addition to Edwards, the Jets are currently hosting former Jacksonville Jaguar Mike Sims-Walker who was released by the team after spending time on the injured reserve.
If anything else, the stone hands of the receivers bring to the forefront the need for Santonio Holmes to return to the Jets practice. The veteran wideout has been rehabbing from a Lisfranc injury that forced him onto the injured reserve in Week 4 of the 2012 season. While his teammates have struggled, Holmes remains on the sideline doing workouts and is hoping to return to the form that earned him a Super Bowl MVP award in 2009.
"We need Santonio Holmes," Ryan said. "I don't think there's any doubt,". "[He's] a tremendous football player. First year we had him he won like four games in critical times. He's an MVP of a Super Bowl, making clutch catches, and probably no bigger time than that. That's been his history. Obviously that would be a big shot in the arm for us to get him back out there and healthy."
Last year Holmes was on his way to having perhaps the best season of his career catching 20 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown in the first four games.