Q: It’s been a pretty crazy 12 months. Last year at this time you were fighting for a roster spot. Now you’re pretty comfortable, on top of the depth chart. It’s got to be a good feeling.
Holmes: “Yeah, it’s a good feeling, but I still look to improve in many areas. People could get complacent being in that position, but I really know that I have a lot to work on, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now in this camp.”
Q: In the offseason, you talked about working on your intermediate routes. How are they coming along? Do you feel like they’re stronger?
Holmes: “Yeah, I feel like my intermediate routes are a lot better than last year, and a lot of my catches so far throughout this training camp have been in those intermediates. So it’s a huge positive.”
Q: How much did what you went through last year help you get to where you are now?
Holmes: “A lot. Being able to have some film from last year and being able to watch that and see the types of things that I needed to do to become a better receiver allowed me to have kind of a benchmark in trying to increase my skill level. Before that I didn’t have anything, because I didn’t really have any game tape.”
Q: Would you say you’re developing a rapport of sorts with Schaub?
Holmes: “Yeah, I feel like we are starting to click a little bit. I think he knows where I like the ball, and he’s been placing it in those areas a lot. So, I think with all the receivers he’s starting to really get a connection with all of us, knowing where we’re gonna be and kind of the timing of the routes and everything like that.”
Q: So will he ask you where you like the ball, or what kind of talk is that with you and him like?
Holmes: “I don’t know it’s not exactly me going up to Schaub and telling him where I like it. It’s just kind of like a feel where, like yesterday I had a return route and he threw it pretty high, only where I could get it, and those types of balls are the ones that I feel most comfortable with.”
Holmes: “I actually put a lot of emphasis this offseason and this training camp in trying to be more physical, especially off the line. Not necessarily using as much quickness off the line, but trying to use my strengths, and that I have long arms, and am at times stronger than the other DB. So I really put a lot of emphasis into that whenever I run my routes.”
Q: Is that more work in the weight room? How do you increase that strength and enhance that physical side of you?
Holmes: “Well there’s a little bit of the weight room, but it’s also just like a mentality. I was so used to playing because I was faster. I’m quicker than most players, I was used to being able to just use those quick movements to get around corners, but now I’m starting to see that I can use some of that quickness along with my strength and length, and be as successful, or even more successful.”
Q: After you came up and had the success that you had last year, what do you see as the next step for you? What do you envision for yourself this year?
Holmes: “I envision just being able to contribute every game throughout the whole season, and be consistent throughout the whole season, and kinda just continue an upward slope, and my plays. Just to continue to get better.”
Q: No statistical goals, or “I wanna start” or anything like that? Or is that not your style?
Holmes: “Of course you have some type of goals, definitely I would like to continue what I did last year in getting some yards and some catches. But obviously I want to put a whole season’s work out there.”
Q: Would you say that this is the first time you’ve had a quarterback situation where you’ve had a good connection, they played to your strengths as opposed to you just being one of the receivers and having to play to their strengths?
Holmes: “Yeah definitely. Because before I was trying to make a team, and still I’m trying to make a team. But in a way a little bit different because now it seems as though coaches kind of know what kind of strengths I have and what things I can do, where before it may not have been like that. Now I’m put in the position to be able to try and make those plays that I am good at doing.”
Q: The first depth chart came out today and has you as a first team receiver. D.A. [Head Coach Dennis Allen] said look, there’s a whole preseason to go, we don’t attach a ton of significance to it, but it is where we think these guys are now. How does that make you feel to know that the way they think of you now is a starter.
Holmes: “It doesn’t really change anything, I know that we are all going to play. Really all that matters is that we all go out there and put our best efforts out there and get a win, and show that we can move the ball and we can score some points. That’s the bottom line.”