"I can't throw it to myself and catch it, otherwise I would," Holmes said.
It may have looked like a shot at Smith, but Ryan said he didn't mean it as one.
The Jets were in full Band-Aid mode Friday, to use an analogy team owner Woody Johnson might approve. Ryan had his wide receiver's back. He joked that maybe the Jets should try having receivers throw to themselves.
"If you read the whole thing, it was an unusual comment, but he's not the only one that makes those," Ryan said. "He certainly didn't mean it as a slight to Geno. I think the picture that he's painting is an accurate picture, sometimes the coverages roll to him that your reads take you elsewhere, and that's a fact."
Holmes and Smith weren't connecting on the field, even before Holmes sustained the hamstring injury that has kept him from practice. Smith has thrown at Holmes 23 times, but has converted just 43.5 percent of those. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that's the second-worst percentage in the league for a wide receiver and quarterback combo.
Holmes was also asked in his Thursday Q&A about what he saw from Smith during the Titans game.
"What do you mean what did I see from him?," Holmes said. "I saw that we lost the ballgame."
Holmes has never appeared to enjoy interacting with the media in New York, and his reaction portends the reporting of his comments won't help matters. Holmes took to Twitter on Friday morning to complain of the coverage:
For the record. This media stuff never distracts me, I hate that our #NyJets fans have to read this "crap" when things aren't going good!
— Santonio Holmes (@ToneTime10) October 4, 2013
Wide receiver Stephen Hill said no one thought he meant to disrespect Smith.
"I know what he meant by it, that's all that needs to be done," Hill said. "Basically he's not the quarterback he's the wide receiver, all he can do is focus on being wide receiver. He can't throw himself the ball of course not, we all can't if we're wide receivers."
Holmes' full comment is as follows: "I can't throw it to myself and catch it, otherwise I would. I just have to do my part which is the position that I'm playing which is primary X receiver and a lot of times you get double covered [and] get taken out of the play. The progression and the reads from the quarterback have to go elsewhere."
Holmes did not practice at all and was not even on the field or in the rehab areas as his teammates practiced.