Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Jets matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m., at MetLife Stadium
Raiders WR Andre Holmes vs. Jets CB Antonio Cromartie
Tale of the tape:
Holmes (18): 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, second season, Hillsdale
Cromartie (31): 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, eighth season, Florida State
Andre Holmes had a breakout game Nov. 28 against the Dallas Cowboys. A career-best seven catches for 136 yards were silver linings in a heartbreaking loss. The production was required with Denarius Moore out, and showed that a thin receiver corps could be stronger with everyone healthy.
Holmes’ promise is exactly that. He’s had one good game, nothing more. Let’s not forget Holmes had more catches against Dallas than the rest of his career.
He needs to string performances together, regardless of game plan or coverage emphasis, to establish himself as part of the Raiders future plans.
“Every game plan is going to be different, but the more you can put good performances back to back, the more trust you earn,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “What I look at is, do they take advantage of opportunities when they have them. Andre was able to do that last week, and I hope he’ll take advantage of them again this week.”
Holmes must find ways to get open against veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie, a fast player slowed by a hip injury that has limited him in this week's practice. Cromartie is a solid cover corner but isn’t a great tackler, leaving room to make plays after the catch.
Cromartie has struggled some this year and recently said a hip injury suffered in the preseason has hindered his effectiveness. That said, his completion percentage against is a low 51 percent, but big plays are available. He allows 20 yards per catch and has given up several big plays.
Holmes wants to make an impact for a second straight game, and prove that he can play as this level, in this offense. He believes he’s playing his best football, but can still get better.
“I've been able to use my strengths a lot more and playing bigger and making sure I come down with the 50-50 balls,” Holmes said. “I know when I was a rookie that was one thing I wasn't really doing. It was more of like a 20-80 ball, know what I mean?
“Now it’s just the right time. The ball has been coming to me and I’ve been able to make plays on it. Hopefully that can continue.”