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Old 01-22-2009, 11:22 PM   #1
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Default Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

01/23/2009
Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat
By Mike Bires , Calkins Media
http://www.heraldstandard.com/site/n...d=468632&rfi=6

PITTSBURGH - It's taken him awhile, but Santonio Holmes has finally emerged as the Steelers' go-to guy.
Several months ago in the heat of training camp, he predicted that he'd be Ben Roethlisberger's No. 1 target.

Now, in the midst of a cold winter, Holmes may not always be Roethlisberger's primary target. But he has definitely developed into the Steelers' most lethal weapon.

In their last seven games, two playoff wins included, no Steeler has scored more touchdowns than Holmes. He's caught four touchdown passes and returned a punt for a score.

At the mid-season point of the season in early November, Holmes was the Steelers' most disappointing player after eight games. But since then, he's been on fire. Holmes is a major reason why the Steelers will play in Super Bowl XLIII.

His touchdown catch with 43 seconds left in Baltimore on Dec. 14, 2008, was the game-winner as the Steelers clinched the AFC North Division title.

His 67-yard first-quarter punt return for a score jumpstarted the Steelers in a playoff win over San Diego.

His 65-yard TD catch in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game was the Steelers' only offensive touchdown.

"(Holmes) has a personality that he always wants to deliver a splash play," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He loves that. He's a guy who wants to be the reason why we win not through drudgery. He wants to kill you with a bullet."

Holmes' big-play potential is what brought him to Pittsburgh.

After the Steelers won Super Bowl XL, a void had been created by the free-agent defection of Antwaan Randle El, a wide receiver who was also a threat as a kick returner. So, with the 25th overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, the Steelers chose Holmes, a speed burner who scored 25 touchdowns in 28 starts during his career at Ohio State.

Compared to the NFL's most prolific wide receivers, Holmes hasn't posted huge numbers when it comes to regular-season receptions: 49 catches as a rookie, 52 last year, 55 this year. Hines Ward, the wily 11th-year pro, remains the team leader in catches (74, 71 and 81) the past three years).

But when it comes to touchdowns, playoff games included, Ward and Holmes are nip and tuck. Ward has 20 since Holmes' arrival, all on receptions. Holmes has 19, 17 by pass and two on punt returns.

Holmes, though, has scored more dramatically.

Five of his 19 touchdowns have come on plays of 59 yards or longer. Six others came on plays between 30 and 43 yards.

"I love that mentality in him," Tomlin said of Holmes' big-play ability. "That's why we try to find new and different ways to put the ball in his hands, whether it's passes over the top or punt returns or (running) reverses.

"With guys who have that personality, you want to give them the ball and allow them to do what it is they love to do."

More than anything, Holmes loves to use his speed to produce dazzling long-distance touchdowns.

He's doing that extremely well right now.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

I love Hines and we need him desperately for the SB. But I have said all along that Sanny can fill the blank with Nate picking up for his 2 spot... JMO
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

I've had 2 sprained knees in my life, it is painful, but in my case it didnt take that long to heal. It was a good sign that Ward returned to the feild for a fe possesions after his sprain.

Back to Santo...he is a big play guy, we need that, it would also help to have Ward out there to suck up double coverage, but lets not forget about Miller, he could have a huge game, and create mismatches.
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

I like Holmes but worry about the fumble factor. he's gotten better with the fumbles but those thin arms are a bit easy to strip the ball
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

I'll tell you what... with Holmes doing his thing, Sweed hopefully developing next season, and if we somehow keep Washington... and if we can shore up the O-line a little we could be a force for quite some time. We are not that far from a very strong string of playoff appearances and potential SB opportunities.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

Holmes is improving every game the guy just keeps making plays and they are coming at the right time he will be a great receiver before his carrer is over.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

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Originally Posted by jasonhightower View Post
I'll tell you what... with Holmes doing his thing, Sweed hopefully developing next season, and if we somehow keep Washington... and if we can shore up the O-line a little we could be a force for quite some time. We are not that far from a very strong string of playoff appearances and potential SB opportunities.
We have a SLEW of free agents over the next two years.

However, if we can keep the core here. . . you may be looking at the beginning of a dynastic run. Most of them are young, and will stay around awhile.

As far as the line is concerned. . . honestly, in watching and then rewatching/scouting the last two games. . . they are playing pretty dang well. SOLID pass blocking. Run blocking needs some work, but that was ALSO against the Ravens.

Suddenly, I am not so worried about our O line. I want to see us pick up one tackle, and a DL to groom.
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

Here's to Holmes continuing his playoff groove going for 1 more game. I also believe Miller could be a big weapon on Super Bowl Sunday. He is a mismatch for any defense out there and I hope Arians and Ben give him chances to make plays for us.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

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We have a SLEW of free agents over the next two years.

However, if we can keep the core here. . . you may be looking at the beginning of a dynastic run. Most of them are young, and will stay around awhile.

As far as the line is concerned. . . honestly, in watching and then rewatching/scouting the last two games. . . they are playing pretty dang well. SOLID pass blocking. Run blocking needs some work, but that was ALSO against the Ravens.

Suddenly, I am not so worried about our O line. I want to see us pick up one tackle, and a DL to groom.
I am a firm believer that dynastic (loved that word BTW) type teams start at QB. I always said when we get a real QB we will win SBs. We have one now. I certainly believe if we can find a way to protect BB and keep him with folks to throw too we will be in this situation a few more times over the next few years. Our D has always been good, maybe not always as good as this year, but we have a history of outstanding D play. Anyway, I expect big things over Bens career. JMO
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Holmes becoming Steelers' big threat

What makes it all the better is teams still have to prepare for Hines Ward. He may not be the go-to guy so to speak but he runs good routes and worse case scenario (for the defense) is that he's going to block someone on a play!!!
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