Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, T.J. Watt, Russell Wilson: Santonio Holmes talks NFL on eve of kickoff
Santonio Holmes knows a few things about the National Football League.
He was featured on a season of HBO's Hard Knocks, he won a Super Bowl MVP award with a last minute tightrope catch in the end zone (tell me that wasn't any wide receiver's dream growing up), and of course, won that Super Bowl.
Holmes recently spoke with Betway in a wide-ranging interview before Thursday night's season opener in Los Angeles between the Super Bowl champion Rams and this season's current betting favorite, the Buffalo Bills.
Which teams are you most excited to watch this season?
I'm picking the Bills to finish in the top five in the NFL, I really do like their chances. You’ve got to go to Buffalo in the wintertime, it gets super cold. I've been there, and that place gets very windy before the cold season. They’ve got all these elements that they can throw out against you when you go up to Buffalo, so you have to be prepared.
I'm really excited to see what the Colts do this year, and also to see what happens with this quarterback situation with the Steelers. I'm looking to see how that plays out because at any given moment you have three hungry guys that want to be in the Pittsburgh spotlight. That No. 7 [Ben Roethlisberger] has blessed the organisation with opportunities to grow elsewhere.
Who would be your pick for MVP?
I would want to go with a defensive player, somebody like T.J. Watt. The more you do for a defense, and for a team, the better your chances are of winning. And the majority of the time the person that leads the charge for that team deserves to be in that position. So, if you can win Defensive Player of the Year and become an MVP for your organisation, that deserves an MVP vote in my in my book.
Which current quarterback would you most want to catch passes from?
Russell Wilson. I like the accuracy on the touch and the deep ball that he has. It's form fitting to the way I would play and how I could just relax and catch big bombs.
Josh Allen, too. He has a game like Big Ben, loads of scramble, get outside the pocket, take a hit and still keep trucking.
As a receiver, what are the main qualities you're looking for in a quarterback?
Definitely his IQ for positioning the football. Say if I'm running a specific route, and he has trouble getting it to this location, I would ask: "Where would you like to throw this ball when I run this route?" So that now I know, if this happens, this is where this ball is going to be.
To be on the same page with a quarterback in that respect, definitely shows a lot of character for the relationship that you have built, so that there are no “oh, shit” moments when that ball comes out, and it's on the wrong side.
Who is the current receiver you like watching the most?
Deebo Samuel. He's that guy. The NFL is full speed, so for someone to be able to do what Deebo did, to play multiple positions, to shift the ball different ways in the NFL – I've witnessed it with Hines Ward, but to do it the way this kid did last season was remarkable. I'm looking forward to seeing him perform this season and have fun doing it.
Cooper Kupp became the latest receiver to win Super Bowl MVP last season, as you did in 2009. What do you like about his game?
Being dependable is a quarterback’s best friend. It's their dream. It's also every defense's nightmare to see a guy come on and perform to the quarterback’s will night in, night out. Also, his feel for catching the football no matter where it's placed.
His performance last year was one for the books, and to cap it off with a remarkable finish as a Super Bowl MVP, I tip my hat to him for having such a great season, and also his quarterback and his staff for finding him and allowing him to do that. The guys around him made him so much better, getting him open and taking the pressure away from him.
Do you think he can replicate it this year?
Everything's possible when you put in the work. He’s got to keep on with the same trust, build the same relationship with the quarterback. Every year you grow a little bit, you get a little bit smarter.
The only way he doesn't receive those accolades is if he gets half the targets and he doesn't get nearly as much single coverage this year.