Florham Park, NJ – Santonio Holmes sat out practice today.

Don’t be too worried. It appears Holmes will be put on a similar “pitch count” as Kellen Winslow, and today was a planned precaution. But his status for Sunday is still up in the air.

“I still don’t know,” said Holmes. “Still haven’t gotten any word from the doctors yet on whether I should be playing or not, so I’m just going to keep playing it by ear.”

A healthy Santonio Holmes would make Geno Smith's life a lot easier.

Rex Ryan doesn’t have the same doubts:

“I was comfortable with him [starting] when he was in a boot.”

All kidding aside, the feeling throughout the organization for some time has been that he will play against Tampa. It’s the receiver’s insistence that, “looks can be deceiving,” that has some in the media speculating that Holmes is worried about a future payday.

It is believed that Holmes could be cut this offseason so the team can avoid paying a $10.75 million cap number. If he reinjures himself, it’ll be hard for him to come anywhere close to the five-year $45.25 million deal he signed back in 2011.

“Like I said before, I have a long career and I don’t want to go out there and do anything to jeopardize that up until this point,” said Holmes. “We have 16 games to play this season and hopefully I can play in all 16, but if not, we’ll have to deal with what I can do.”

With a game scheduled for next Thursday, it would make sense for the receiver to be a little tentative.  Yet several players on the team, including Geno Smith and Stephen Hill, have said Holmes has claimed all offseason he’ll be ready week one.

More good news: he has been practicing for over a week now, and Rex Ryan is pleased with what he’s seen.

“I thought he looked really good for not practicing a whole lot,” said Ryan. “It’s a new system and things, but I thought he caught the ball well and I thought he moved around pretty good.”

It’s no secret that a healthy Holmes would be a big boost to a passing offense that ranked 30th in the league last season. Going up against Tampa’s defense last season might’ve helped too—they ranked dead last in pass defense in the NFL—but that doesn’t look to be the case this year.

In the offseason the Bucs traded for former Jet, and All-Pro corner, Darrelle Revis. Revis, along with free agent pickup Dashon Goldson and second-round pick Johnthan Banks, should solidify the backend of a defense that already ranked at the top of the league at stopping the run.

Needless to say, the Bucs should be a challenge for rookie Geno Smith in his first NFL game. Having Holmes, a former Super Bowl MVP, could be the security blanket he needs.

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