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Holmes: I was "the scapegoat" last year

Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes talks to the

Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes talks to the media after the team's offseason workout at their practice facility in Florham Park, N.J. (May 10, 2012) Credit: Joe Epstein

CORTLAND, N.Y. – No longer does Santonio Holmes have to worry about demanding the ball more. No does he run the risk of being “the scapegoat” for the Jets’ problems.

During a 12 ½-minute ESPN radio interview at SUNY Cortland, Holmes expressed his excitement for the upcoming season and teaming up with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. But he also voiced frustration over the way he was used in the Jets’ regular-season finale in Miami last season and the coaching style of former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

“It was the end,” Holmes said of that game, in which he got into the face of right tackle Wayne Hunter and was benched in the fourth quarter of that Week 16 loss to the Dolphins. “It was playoffs on the line and your best receiver doesn’t get but two passes thrown his way in 60 minutes of football.

“That’s just hard to understand and to cope with, when you want everything just as bad as everybody else does and it doesn’t even happen. And nobody has the answers for it, but the scapegoat. The scapegoat is the answer. And that’s what happened.”

Holmes did, however, accept some responsibility for the locker turmoil, saying on air that he should not have aired grievances with players publicly. He admitted, he was at the heart of the issues last season.

“It was me," Holmes said. "Not answering those questions in that manner. Not saying the things that were asked of me to say, and just learning how to hold my tongue and to be more critical of myself instead of others."

The arrival of coordinator Tony Sparano has alleviated Holmes’ concerns – especially when it comes to getting the ball more. The wide receiver said Sparano has made it a point to tell his offensives “no matter what, he’s going to make sure we’re all taken care of.”

“And I think bringing in that attitude towards us this season is probably something that we were missing back then,” said Holmes. “Everybody being accountable for what has to take place for us to win as a team.”

The Jets No. 1 receiver also took a not-so-veiled shot at Schottenheimer, saying that Sparano is “more of a coach. He knows how to coach the team as opposed to being an offensive coordinator. And I think coaching each one of those positions up to being the best guys that we can provide for this team is what we needed and what we didn’t have last year.”

Here are more quotes from the ESPN interview with Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco:

(his upcoming year)
“I’m excited, man. I think I’ve been working really hard against (Darrelle) Revis and (Antonio) Cromartie. Those guys have been giving me good looks and Mark is feeling comfortable with the position that he can put me in, to play inside, outside. We’re all excited about what’s about to happen for us.”

(on the type of convos he and Sanchez had to have to get back on same page)
“Just looking each other in the eyes and trusting the plan that’s in front of us. We both signed extensions to be here with New York for the next five-plus years and we’re both excited. Because I trust him and I wouldn’t have signed back with the New York Jets if I knew I would have the type of season I had last year with Mark. That’s how much I trust and believe in him as my quarterback.”

(what were the reasons for locker room fallout)
“As far as our team goes, I think everything is behind us. Myself, coach Ryan, Wayne Hunter and Brandon Moore, we all had our sit-down talks and we squashed that. We believe in one another, we know that we can trust each other to get our jobs done. And we just have to be more vocal amongst ourselves and not to the media. And I think that’s what divided us in the beginning – by being more vocal to the media and not directing it more to the team.”

(why did you blame media if you were partly responsible?)
“Because it was a constant attention drive towards us. When they come in the locker room, that’s all the want to talk about. …We don’t want to be continuously asked these questions these type (of) questions to keep it going.”

(have u expressed that to the NY media?)
“All is well right now. I think when I came in in April, I had my sit-down interview with everyone and everything was done from there and none of the questions have been brought up thus far.” 

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