View Full Version : Time is of the essence for Steelers' Holmes

09-27-2008, 12:22 AM
Time is of the essence for Steelers' Holmes
By John Harris
Saturday, September 27, 2008
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 90345.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_590345.html)

Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes is learning how to exhibit patience rather than frustration.

Holmes, who is second on the team with 10 receptions for 145 yards, needs to create more opportunities in the passing game. He snagged a team-high eight touchdown catches last season but doesn't have a touchdown grab through the first three games of 2008.

What he does have is a strong opinion about what's wrong with the Steelers' attack.

Holmes said he can't catch the football if it isn't thrown his way. And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can't complete passes from the seat of his pants.

So Holmes continues to wait. Next up is Monday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens, the team Holmes burned for 110 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a 38-7 win at Heinz Field last November.

"Touchdowns, catches, big plays all come in bundles," said Holmes, whose 18.2-yard per catch average last season was highest among NFL players with at least 50 receptions in 2007. "There are opportunities to be made, but there are going to be times when plays just aren't there for you.

''I just think that we haven't had much time to throw the plays that we want to throw to me. The opportunities are very limited right now.''

Roethlisberger has already been sacked 12 times, including eight last week in a 15-6 loss at Philadelphia. Holmes, who was targeted eight times against the Eagles, had only three catches for 32 yards.

"Out of all of those dropback passes and those sacks that we've been taking over the course of these three games, probably about 40 percent of those passes are probably coming to me,'' Holmes said.

"We've got guys getting open, we've got guys running good routes. If we don't have the time, the quarterback can't put the ball where it needs to be.''

Holmes said he hasn't always been so patient. But he's older now, a three-year veteran who understands his value to the team.

"You've got to be mature about it and understand and respect the game,'' Holmes said.

In last year's Monday night win over Baltimore, Holmes had success against backup cornerbacks Corey Ivy and Derrick Martin. This time around, Holmes will be matched against veteran corner Chris McAlister.

"They had young guys in the game, and we took full advantage of it,'' said Holmes, who had touchdown receptions of 35 yards and 15 yards against the Ravens.

"I think I'll probably get more coverage to my side. They're going to try to keep it in manageable situations, giving up short pases and keeping the deep ball from being thrown. We've just got to be on the same page so we can make plays.''

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.