HOLMES: I'll Ride with Mark Until the End

Transcript of wide receiver Santonio Holmes' news conference following the Jets' Wednesday afternoon practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center:

On if he's ready to play against Buffalo…

I'm super-excited about Sunday. It's go time. I can't sit around and expect anybody else to be a leader for this team and to produce the way I know how to. The coaches are excited about what the plan is going to be for us as a team and I'm excited as well.

On how excited he is to begin a new season…

The cool thing about it is that football season comes once a year. We know exactly when the time comes and when we have to be ready. Now's the time for myself and the rest of the Jets to be ready for football season. There's no more lingering around preseason and focusing on the things that we didn't do well. Right now, it's all about how we're going to contribute to this season. Are we going to be a fast-starting team? Are we going to be the most physical team? Are we going to score more points than our opponents this season? Are we going to try to win every ballgame this season? That's our goal.

On if he thinks the wide receiver group has a chip on its shoulder…

Honestly, I don't. I think the things that we do well is what we focus on the most and I think Coach Sanjay [Lal] is coming along pretty well for us in understanding his philosophy on how he wants things done for our group and it's just our job to go out there and make the quarterback look good. I don't think it's our job to do anything else but catch the football, make big plays and make the quarterback look good.

On if he'll face rookie CB Stephon Gilmore…

I'm pretty sure. We play both sides of the field, so I'm pretty sure if he's a left corner, right corner, he's definitely going to get a chance to go up against me.

On Sanchez's leadership this season…

Spending time with Mark, I think he's more focused this season. He's excited in [redeeming] himself from what he did last year. We're excited for him because the things that we've been seeing from the OTAs and even during the offseason, before OTA's came about, that he had a different focus for the season. I'm going to ride with him until the end. That was the reason for me signing back with the New York Jets. Because I knew having a young quarterback, there was a lot of room to grow with him, and us as a team, and for our chemistry to be better.

On his chemistry with Sanchez…

We'll find out on Sunday. We'll find out just how much we've been putting together throughout the offseason, spending time in the meeting room, just phone calls and conversations throughout the week, just to stay up on top of each other. I think it's going to be pretty exciting for us.

On how Sanchez has handled the Tebow trade…

I think since day one it was a focus that kind of rattled him a little. And I use that word only to say, 'Wow, how did this happen?' And those were words that came out of his mouth. But I think he understands now that his role is to be the New York Jets starting quarterback, and Tebow is here to help us win as many games as he can help us win.

On if Sanchez's initial reaction to signing Tebow was "Wow, how did this happen"…

Yes.

On if Sanchez said those words exactly…

It came off that way.

On if Sanchez has dealt with it and moved on…

Oh, no question. I think having the conversation that he and I had the day it happened, when I got back from Africa. He talked to me and I basically told him that this is his team, you're the starting quarterback, Tebow is here to help. From the words that came from Coach Ryan, he told me that Tebow's going to help us keep the drives going, keep the ball, score touchdowns, and win ballgames. Those were the exact words I gave to Mark, to give him that sense of security that he's our starting quarterback and that Tebow is here to help us win as many games as he can.

On how he would handle Tebow's acquisition if he were Sanchez…

I got traded to the New York Jets for a fifth-round draft pick without any insight on who was here as far as the receivers. My job was to come in and help the team win ballgames, so I think honestly I would do it the same way I did it when I got traded here.

On his reaction to the Tebow trade.…

I honestly didn't think that it happened. Someone told me that it happened and I waited until I saw it on ESPN to believe it. When it happened, I honestly didn't know what to think. I didn't know whether we'd get rid of Mark or we'd bring in a new quarterback. When I talked to Rex Ryan, he kind of put me at ease to understand that he's here to help.

On if he has concerns about getting touches with the team running Wildcat…

I don't get concerned at all because in the course of a game, there's about 60, 65 plays run on offense, depending on how much your defense stops the other team and keeps control of the game. If he runs about 20 plays, that's about two to three plays each quarter, so it wouldn't be.

On Sanchez's growth…

Spending three years with him, you see a lot. He's honestly handling the situation the way a starting quarterback really should handle the situation, that this is his team. He was signed to the New York Jets as a first-round draft pick to be the guy and he has to continue believing in himself. That's what he's been doing.

On what he saw in Sanchez to lead him to re-sign with the Jets…

He was young. Kevin [O'Connell], [Mark] Brunell and Kellen Clemens, those guys couldn't really beat him out for his job. I knew that the coaches had as much trust in him to be our starter for the next however many years and getting the opportunity to come play with a young quarterback and wanting to be here for as many years as I can to help this team win as many ballgames and championships. I felt that we had a better understanding and a connection amongst ourselves that we could get the job done if nobody else was here to help us get the job done.

On what Sanchez has done to get better…

I think he took the necessary steps to make himself improve and to be a better quarterback, a better teammate, a better friend and to just be a better leader for this group.

On if he's anxious to prove all of his doubters wrong…

Not at all. I play the game for the New York Jets and this football team. My goal is to win as many games as I can help this team win, to catch as many balls as they throw to me, and to score as many touchdowns as I can and to keep these guys super-excited because I know our defense gets excited when we as receivers make big plays and they feed off of that intensity, so as long as I'm here that's going to be my motive to help improve this team.

On if he's concerned that the ground-and-pound mentality won't provide enough opportunities for the receivers to make plays…

On Sunday, everything's going to be put on the table. There's no holding back anything from running the ball 30 times to throwing it 50 times. We're going to have as much fun as we can have but we have to do it the right way and that's by getting first downs, keeping the drives going, catching the ball, running hard, having our offensive line dominate every team that we play this year and that's going to be our focus.

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