Santonio Holmes is just days away from getting his first taste of the Jets-Patriots rivalry.
The wideout was in the midst of serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy when the Jets knocked off the Patriots 28-14 in Week 2. He caught a glimpse of the live action on CBS that day, but couldn't really get a feel for what Bill Belichick & Co. were trying to do defensively.
"I watched a little bit of it. You can’t watch it on TV," Holmes said. "You listen to the commentators talk, you’ve got people around you making noise. So it’s not like studying film, it’s nothing like studying film where there’s no sound and you are just focused on what’s going on. The TV copy doesn’t really show everything that I need to know from a receiver’s standpoint."
One thing he didn't need to see? The play of Devin McCourty, the Patriots rookie cornerback out of Rutgers who was also on the Jets' radar along with Kyle Wilson, the cornerback they wound up drafting after New England plucked McCourty off the board at No. 27, two picks before the Jets selected.
Holmes made it crystal clear he doesn't think any rookie quarterback can cover him. At all. Period. End of conversation.
"Negative," he said. "That was proven Super Bowl Sunday two years ago, when they had a rookie follow me around the whole game. I wouldn't do it if I was them."
The rookie Holmes, who was the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII, was speaking of? Arizona's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who's Antonio Cromartie's cousin. Didn't work out well for the Cardinals that day, did it?
"No, no," Holmes said with a laugh. "Not at all."
Holmes didn't seem overly impressed with the Patriots' youthful secondary as a whole, either. Besides McCourty, New England features a pair of second-year starters in cornerback Kyle Arrington, the Hofstra product, and safety Patrick Chung.
"If I could really speak my mind, I would," Holmes said. "But, just off the strength of me being a professional, I don't worry about those guys. We have to worry about what we have to do here. I don't care who they line up over there on the other side of the ball. It's our job to get the job done and play well and throw pitch-and-catch, run the ball, block those guys and get out of there with a victory.
"That's our job to go out and exploit those guys," he added. "No matter how much we would talk about it, it would probably boost up the media, it's not what we do. Our job is to go out and exploit those guys on the field physically, making good routes, catching the ball, making the plays happen for [Mark] Sanchez."