FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Santonio Holmes might have provided the Carolina Panthers with some inadvertent bulletin board material.
The New York Jets wide receiver was answering a question Thursday about the Panthers' impressive defense, ranked No. 2 in the NFL, and how it stacks up against previous opponents when he mentioned the defensive backs.
"Not to call these guys out," Holmes couched it, "but their secondary is probably their weakest link on their defense."
Holmes went on to rave about the Panthers' front seven and how athletic and physical they are, but the damage had already been done. And it might not be taken too kindly in Carolina by the Panthers' starting foursome of cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn and Melvin White and safeties Quintin Mikell and Mike Mitchell.
Holmes was later asked what led him to believe that Carolina's weakness on defense is the secondary.
"Just from the numbers perspective, guys in their position," Holmes said. "Nothing from my judgment that puts those guys in that category. It's the way they've been ranked throughout the NFL, it's not my perspective."
For what it's worth, Holmes was sort of right. Carolina actually ranks fifth in pass defense, and the Panthers are tied for fifth in the league with 16 interceptions. That's a slight dropoff from the run defense, which is No. 1.
"I love Santonio Holmes," a smiling offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said when told of his comments. "If he said it, here's the thing, they are so good up front (and) their secondary is pretty good. They play very aggressive because of that front. I don't know what context he said it in."
While previewing the game for "The NFL on CBS" earlier in the day, analyst Dan Dierdorf actually echoed Holmes' comments in quotes distributed by the network.