Santonio Holmes inching closer to return

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Santonio Holmes did not practice Wednesday, but he did take the next step on the comeback trail.

Holmes participated in position-group drills with the rest of the New York Jets' wide receivers, running routes and catching passes, for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury Sept. 29 against the Tennessee Titans.

"Making good progress every day," Holmes said after practice. "That's pretty much all I can keep doing, taking it day by day and making good progress."

Holmes has missed the team's past four games. The Jets have their bye week following Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, and Holmes said last week that "I think the bye week is coming at a great time, giving me what, five, maybe six weeks to get healthy." But Holmes looked good running those routes Wednesday afternoon.

Still, the more likely scenario is Holmes returning after the bye, on Nov. 17 in Buffalo. When asked if he is optimistic he will play against the Saints, Holmes said, "I still don't know. At this point, I was only able to do individuals. I'm pretty sure once things get rolling and I'm able to practice, that's when I'll be able to play."

The Jets certainly could use Holmes' help. They are currently ranked 22nd in the NFL in passing yards, averaging 210 per game.

In four games, Holmes has 10 receptions for 243 yards. That's not a lot of catches, but he is still capable of a big performance. In Week 3 against the Bills, he had five catches for 154 yards and a touchdown.