By Ernie Palladino
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The Jets are adding, all right. Now, it's a question of whether all that physiological math will turn out as addition by addition, or subtraction by addition.
We're talking about Santonio Holmes and Ed Reed here. In the post-bye practice week leading into Sunday's game against the Bills, the Jets generated two pieces of news.
One, of course, involved the distinct possibility that mouthy receiver Holmes will finally return from his hamstring injury. With seven games left on the schedule and a 5-4 record that has positioned them well for playoff spot, the Jets could certainly use their field-stretching wideout in a receiving corps that has been hurt by bumps and bruises.
The announcement of the signing of Reed, thereby reuniting him with Rex Ryan, his old defensive coordinator in Baltimore, doesn't look bad on the surface, either. He's a Hall-of-Fame name, and accepted football logic dictates it's never a bad idea to sign one of those.
But how might these two perform? Ah, that's the rub.
Start with Reed. Since he only signed Thursday, it's hard to believe the former Ravens star and recent Texans castoff will have any impact Sunday against the Bills. So the question becomes, what about after that?
The guess here is that it's a bad signing. He's 35, for one thing. That's fairly old for a safety, even one who is in the conversation with the Ronnie Lotts of the world for greatest safety ever. Recall that he quickly reverted to a backup role with the Texans before they ushered him out the door a couple of days ago.
To think that Reed, at this stage of life, is going to unseat the solid but unspectacular Dawan Landry or Antonio Allen, well, that's some ultra-wishful thinking right there.
If the Jets are trying to catch that last little bit of Reed's lightning in their bottle, then good for them. But they -- read that Ryan -- must go into it with the idea that he's a straight backup who will get limited snaps. Whatever he contributes in that framework will be gravy.
Now to Holmes. It appears the wide receiver and his coach had a difference of opinion on how well that hamstring has healed since the Week 4 injury against Tennessee. Ryan said he expected Holmes to suit up and play, while Holmes indicated he still has a way to go in practice before he'll be ready to risk the muscle in a game.
Be that as it may, getting Holmes back would also be a win-lose proposition. The Jets are also getting back tight ends Kellen Winslow (suspension) and Jeff Cumberland (concussion), who both may be more vital to future success than a partially recovered Holmes.
There's no telling whether Holmes can create the downfield havoc of his healthier incarnations. But it is absolutely certain that he could create disruption, though more on the Jets' end than the opponents. If Geno Smith relegates him to decoy status Sunday, watch out. This guy couldn't get along with veteran Mark Sanchez. An angry and frustrated Holmes could eat up a rookie like Smith, especially if the ball doesn't come to him early Sunday.
Smith would be much better off with Jeremy Kerley in there, but Kerley is almost sure to miss with a dislocated elbow.
Addition by addition? Could be. If Reed can offer even a dollop of his old self, even with limited field time, the Jets will benefit in the secondary, which happens to be the weakest part of their defense. And if Holmes can get downfield with any efficiency, Smith will have a new target to throw to.
More likely, though, these two bits of news may end up as subtraction by addition. Chemistry-wise, they could be walking into a minefield by rushing Holmes back and risking his frustration. And how much can a 35-year-old safety really offer after a bad team with a shaky secondary cut him?
The names are nice, but names don't win football games.
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