Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez making connection again this season
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Santonio Holmes, without a pre-snap gesture or verbal communication, went rogue and ran the wrong route.
Yes, at one point in the second half of Sunday's game against the Dolphins, the mercurial wideout blatantly defied a play call.
It's not what you're thinking, though.
"If we'd done exactly what it said on paper, he was going to run right into somebody and I would've thrown it right to a defender," quarterback Mark Sanchez said of Holmes. "He gave me his eyes and his number and sat right in the zone and I was thinking the exact same thing."
We're no football scientists, but that sounds a little like chemistry.
Holmes had nine receptions for 147 yards, including a 38-yard catch that helped set up Nick Folk's winning field goal in overtime. The receiver caught nine of the 14 passes thrown his way and, for the first time in a while, looked to be in sync with Sanchez.
Holmes attributed the success to "how much time he and I spend together on the sideline just talking or working on the routes we had in practice that we didn't connect on. The extra meeting time that we have after practice every day. I think those things are starting to factor for both of us."
That's a far cry from last season when the two struggled to connect on the field and, according to reports, were even farther apart off it. Holmes caught just 50 percent of the balls intended for him and his 654 yards were the fewest of his seven-year career.
He and Sanchez appear to have settled the squabble and the extra time together has paid off thus far. Though it has only been three games, Holmes is on pace for a career-high 1,296 yards.
"I wouldn't call it a rebuild," Holmes said of his and Sanchez's relationship. "From the moment I walked in, I thought that Mark was going to be our guy, and I would be the guy beside him 100 percent."
Neither player would divulge details of "the play," or even say when it was run -- for fear of "giving insight" to opposing defenses, Holmes said.
Nevertheless, read-and-react route changes are indicative of the trust level between a receiver and quarterback . . . even if this one peeved offensive coordinator Tony Sparano a bit.
"Coach Sparano was like, 'This isn't just freewheeling,' " Sanchez said with a grin. 'This isn't street football where you run to the blue Cadillac and turn right. At the end of the day you guys are making a play and I appreciate that. But don't make a habit of that.'
"But it doesn't always work out like it's drawn up, so to have that chemistry with Tone just feels good."