Holmes shows potential against old team

Allen on McGloin: 'I think he's handled his role pretty well'

Holmes shows potential against old team
December 1, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Andre Holmes caught seven passes for 136 yards in the Raiders' Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys. (USATSI)

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin likes to find favorable coverage, throw to a spot and let his receivers make a big play. He saw that receiver Andre Holmes was in single coverage, and lofted a pass to that Holmes jumped up and grabbed.

McGloin showed tremendous faith in a player with just five career catches entering Thursday’s game. Against the Cowboys, Holmes had seven. For a whopping 136 yards.

An injury to Denarius Moore and attention paid to Rod Streater set up this breakout game, where Holmes flashed tremendous potential. That’s an important moment for these 4-8 Raiders, a team in transition looking diamonds in the rough.

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“He took advantage of the opportunities that he had afforded to him,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “When the ball went to him, he made the plays down the field. I just think when the ball went to him, he went up and made the plays. He was able to do that in some other games too. He had a couple of big plays in the Houston game, one that was a big play and one that should have been a big play. So, Andre is a guy, obviously, that we feel very comfortable with. He is a big target, and he can really stretch the field vertically.”

Holmes could be a fixture on next year’s roster, a vital presence on a team with little receiving production beyond Moore and Streater.

The Raiders stuck with Holmes despite a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The second-year pro had a terrific training camp, using his size and strength to win receptions thrown up for grabs.

He practiced well with little to show for it until Thursday. Holmes had a career day against his old team, who kept him on the practice squad and never gave him much of a chance.

His motivation was high, and it brought out his best.

“I felt really good out there,” Holmes said. “If I had a calendar, I would’ve checked this day. I wanted to come here and play well in front of a team I had played for. It just stinks that we didn’t get the win. A lot of guys came over after the game and said I did a good job. That felt really good.”

Expect Holmes to be a primary target with McGloin under center. The undrafted rookie worked extensively with Holmes running the second and third string in training camp and the early season.

Holmes is a reliable target who can make plays out of his break, a trait valued by the way McGloin plays.

“He’s a guy I definitely trust,” McGloin said. “He’s a good player. He works hard. He goes about his business day in and day out. He’s a guy that will go and get the ball for you. He’s a guy I look for and try to get the ball to. He does good things with the ball in his hands.”

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