There's something about tomorrow's game against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field that gives Rex Ryan a sense of deja vu.
Santonio Holmes finds himself in a similar situation to that of Calvin Pace exactly a year ago. Like Holmes, Pace was facing a four-game suspension, though the linebacker's ban stemmed from violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
There was a part of Ryan that cringed with every play Pace made that night against the Eagles in the Jets' preseason finale, which took place at the Old Meadowlands Stadium. Watching Pace do his thing only made Ryan more depressed, knowing he was going to be without his top pass rusher, who was playing extremely well in the preseason.
Pace hadn't even finished the game yet, and Ryan was already longing for the day "The Gazelle" was going to return to the fold.
“Calvin was killing people in that last preseason game,” Ryan said. “He was going against guys who aren’t playing in the league anymore.”
So expect Holmes' extensive action to be one of the night's highlights, something the bulk of the starting veterans are looking forward to checking out.
“I even told the whole team, ‘We get to see Tone play,’ " Ryan said. "He was smiling. He doesn’t care. He loves playing. Tone will go out there and play against anyone. I do want to extend him and get him playing because we’re not going to have him for four weeks."
Holmes, who's four-game suspension stems from a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy, sees this as his last hurrah for a month. Big deal that he'll be lining up against a bunch of slappies, who, as Ryan noted with Pace's play in last season's preseason finale, likely won't be employed in the NFL by the end of the week.
"Those guys put their pants on, strap their shoulder pads up just like I do,'' Holmes said. "If it's, 'Oh, he's not a first-rounder, I can't get ready for this game,' then I don't have love for this game. He lines up, he’s got to get paid, just like I do. And my job is to embarrass whichever DB comes out there.''
Sounds like that's exactly what he plans on doing, too.
“This game here, I’m definitely going to take full advantage of it,” Holmes said. “You’re going to see me flying around, having fun. You know, not trying to kill anybody, but show the coaches that this is what I’ve been working on, what I’ve learned. That’s why I’m here and this is the way I’m going to play, and I’m going to bring it to the table.”
He's begun making that clear to anyone who'll listen.
"He already told his teammates, 'Hang in there," Ryan said. "Hang in there for four weeks and then help’s on its way.”
Seems like we've been here before, right?