The news of the strained relationship between Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes during the 2011 season has been well publicized. Both players made a big point of working out their issues this past off-season, and telling the world that they had buried the hatchet. Sunday's opener against the Bills was the first chance to see their chemistry, and how well the wounds had healed.
On a day when the Jets' passing game was on center stage and firing on all cylinders, Holmes' play was overshadowed by the breakout performance of Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill. Sparano did the right thing by making sure his number one receiver got his looks. Sanchez targeted Holmes 8 times, the most of any of the Jets receiving corps. Holmes finished with 4 catches and 68 yards. Conspicuously absent was a TD for Holmes. Sanchez connected early with Hill and Kerley for pay dirt in the endzone.
It will be interesting to see how the Jets proceed with their passing game next week against the Steelers. With the emergence of Hill and Kerley as real receiving threats, Sparano and Sanchez will need to carefully spread the ball around to give them the best chance to win while keeping the high paid Holmes happy. Holmes will need to get his touches early against his former team, and a TD will go a long way to keep his personality in check.
Given what happened last season, Holmes' mental state will be a key barometer for the success of the team as the season progresses.