Holiday, a mere footnote of a signing late last season, will be back competing for a roster spot and possibly much more, depending on how the next five months unfold. While the draft later this month may bring a few playmakers the Packers desperately need on offense, they need to look to Holiday to help cure what ails them.
Holiday has toiled in relative anonymity league-wide and even under the microscope that is Green Bay, but a further examination of his skills will uncover a unique and potentially dangerous player. He is the type of player that few teams possess, and for that, he can be a game-changing asset. For the team to re-sign him as an exclusive rights free agent and continue to work with him is a wise move.
After being previously claimed on waivers by the Packers on Dec. 5, Holiday had Packers' coaches beaming about his ability to pick up the offense, though, he had just five NFL games to his credit. Then, when he got a chance to play over the last month, it was clear he could become more than just a backup receiver.
Against the Bears on Dec. 31 he caught five passes for 87 yards including a 35-yarder. The manner in which he ran his routes, though, with his size (6-2, 217 pounds) and speed, opened some eyes. Could this really be a waiver-wire pickup? He showed little indecision in his play. He played strong and fast. And he might just be what the Packers need to wake up their offense in 2007, not even including what the draft might bring them.
Holiday's skills can bring a dynamic element to the Packers' offense in the same way Desmond Howard brought one to special teams, or the same way Antwaan Randle El brought one to the Steelers' weekly game plan. By trade, Holiday is a quarterback. He started prepping for his professional career that way at Notre Dame and even had some success before moving to wide receiver full-time his final year. Such a background allows him to understand the receiver position through a different perspective, and with an apparent natural feel for his "new" position, he has the makings of a serious hidden threat coming off the sideline.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy showed a year ago that he will take chances calling trick plays and did so with Holiday, allowing his new acquisition to throw a pass against the Vikings in the midst of a big game on Dec. 21. Though the pass fell incomplete, it signaled that Holiday could bring a dimension to the Packers' offense that has not been seen in a while. Reverses, option passes, quick screens – Holiday can do them all.
That Holiday has been cut and re-signed four times during his two years in the NFL suggests he is a raw talent that has loads of potential. Last released by the Cardinals on Dec. 4, it took the Packers just one day to snatch him up. Over the final month of the season, then, he impressed enough and made big enough strides to warrant the Packers bringing him back. In four games, he caught nine passes for 126 yards, did not drop a pass, and even made a big special teams tackle against the Bears which forced a fumble.
When training camp opens in July, much of the wide receiver talk will include Randy Moss (if he is traded to the Packers), Robert Ferguson (on whether he can ever be a healthy, productive receiver), and Koren Robinson (if he will return to the Packers during the season after his suspension). Keep an eye on Holiday, though, who just might be a big-play performer in disguise.
Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.