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Santonio Holmes Steps Up to Individual Drills

Updated, 6:08 p.m. ET

Might our up-and-down offense be able to whip a little Tone Time on the Saints on Sunday?

It's too early to say that, really. But Santonio Holmes, who sometimes measures his rehab progress from his foot and most recently his hamstring issue literally in small steps, said today's practice was at least a little more encouraging than others.

"I did what I could do in individuals and that was it," the Jets' No. 1 wideout said at his locker today, adding that he didn't do any individual drills last week. "Today was just a little bit better, and today was the first day I was able to run a route. I feel good about it.

"I'm actually getting better each day. I think that's the big key right now is not to have any setbacks from this point on."

Holmes came back from last year's Lisfranc foot injury to start in the first four games and provided a Holmesian explosion against the Bills with five catches for 154 yards and the 69-yard touchdown that was the difference in the 27-20 win.

But he pulled his hamstring the following game at Tennessee and spent the past four weeks not participating in drills but rehabbing again on the sideline with John Mellody and his trainers.

"You join this league to play games and to play as many as you can until you're able to retire," Tone said. "To have years like this and last year that are limiting me to the opportunities to help this team, it's really challenging right now. I look forward to getting back on the field and finishing this season off and helping these guys out."

Surely fans can see both sides of the question. If he can play, let's get him on the field. Yet if another game off and the bye week might truly strengthen the hamstring, perhaps Nov. 17 at Buffalo is a better re-return game.

But that's not where head coach Rex Ryan is yet. "It's just about one game a week and that's where the focus is," Ryan said. "It's not looking down the road, it's not looking behind you. And that's this team's mentality, I believe."

And we believe it is Holmes' approach, too. Asked if he was optimistic about Sunday, he said:

"I still don't know at this point. ... I'm excited just getting the opportunity to be able to do some stuff each and every day. I'm making good progress. I'm just looking to make it day by day."

The Rest of the Injury Report

Ryan had four other players besides Holmes, all on the offensive side of the ball, who did not participate in team drills today at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. The others: G Willie Colon (calf), TE Jeff Cumberland (concussion), WR Stephen Hill (foot) and WR Jeremy Kerley (illness). C Nick Mangold was again limited with a rib injury, as he was last week. The full Week 9 Wednesday report has been updated here. 

For the Saints, coming off their bye week vs. the Bills on Sunday, TE Jimmy Graham was in on just 18 plays, yet he still scored two touchdowns. Graham was limited in practice today with a foot injury, along with S Roman Harper (knee) LB David Hawthorne (ankle), WR Kenny Stills (knee) and CB Rod Sweeting (hip).

Five Saints players did not practice: WR Marques Colston (knee), G Jahri Evans (hip), S Malcolm Jenkins (knee), S Kenny Vaccaro (concussion/back), and DT Tyrunn Walker (knee).

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