Holmes plans to take advantage of final game before suspension

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Santonio Holmes wants four weeks' worth of catches in one game.

The New York Jets wide receiver gets just one more game before starting the season with a four-game suspension.

"That's the hard part," fellow wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said Tuesday. "He won't be with us out there. It'll be hard on him, and it's going to be hard on us, as well."

Although the rest of the Jets' starters will watch from the sideline Thursday night, Holmes will get plenty of action against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

"It's going to be fun," Holmes said. "I hope I can get about 20 catches out there and just have some fun, knowing that I'm about to exit and be gone for four games. My face won't even be around. My presence and my leadership won't be here, but it'll definitely be here come Week 5."

That's the price Holmes is paying for violating the league's substance-abuse policy while he was with Pittsburgh. The Jets traded for him in April and were enticed by the prospect of what Holmes could do in just 12 regular-season games.

"He's already told his teammates, 'Just hang in there. Hang in there for four weeks, and then help's on the way,'" coach Rex Ryan said.

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Holmes has quickly established a good rapport with quarterback Mark Sanchez, especially while the two roomed together during training camp in Cortland, N.Y.

"I think the best part is that, hopefully, we're sitting at 4-0, and he comes back, and he's here, and we get a little boost from that (receivers) room," Sanchez said. "He's definitely going to help us when he comes back."

When Holmes returns, it'll be in prime time: The Jets' Week 5 game is against Minnesota on Monday Night Football, on Oct. 11.

"You're probably going to have to put me in a cold tub to cool me off a little bit," Holmes said. "I think I'll stay down and keep myself calm, but I'll definitely be excited about the game and playing that Monday night."

The 2009 Super Bowl MVP came to the Jets with some off-field issues other than the suspension. He was arrested in 2008 for possession of marijuana and involved in a domestic-violence incident in 2006; the misdemeanor charges were later dismissed. None of that was good for his image.

"Some people painted that perception that he's just a jerk," Cotchery said. "The way people talk about him, you would think his teammates don't like him. From guys I know who've played with him, they liked him and loved to have him as a teammate. It's the same way here."

Cotchery said Holmes fit in immediately with the rest of the receivers.

"He's just one of the fellas," Cotchery said. "It feels like he's been here since he's been in the league."

The Jets would be thrilled if he came anywhere close to producing the numbers he put up last season, when he set career highs with 79 catches and 1,248 yards receiving. But with the four-game suspension, Holmes is tempering expectations.

"From a receiver's perspective, learning a new offense, it's very difficult coming in and having everything changed," Holmes said. "Routes might be the same, but terminology, coaches, quarterback, the way the words are being presented to you, everything sounds different. If I could be here for the next month to continue picking up on stuff -- I think that would be the biggest aspect that I'm going to miss."

Ryan said the Jets have put a plan in place to help Holmes continue his conditioning while he's away. He also said Holmes and Sanchez talked about using Skype to go over the offense.

Before all that, Holmes will have a chance to run wild against the Eagles' backup defense.

"This game here, I'm definitely going to take full advantage of it," he said. "You're going to see me flying around, having fun. You know, not trying to kill anybody, but show the coaches that this is what I've been working on, what I've learned. That's why I'm here, and this is the way I'm going to play, and I'm going to bring it to the table."

Notes: LB Calvin Pace had surgery on his broken right foot Monday and will miss Week 1. "We'll see about the second week," Ryan said. ... Ryan said Sanchez, who won't play at Philadelphia, will call some offensive plays against the Eagles to "give him a different dynamic." Ryan also did that in preseason finales with Ed Reed and Ray Lewis when he was the defensive coordinator at Baltimore.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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