When Santonio Holmes complained publicly about the offense during the Jets' three-game losing streak, it became a sign of how wrong everything was with the team.
So it was something of a surprise last week to read a report on Pro Football Talk that had Holmes, on pace for a career-worst 711 receiving yards, still complaining about his role behind the scenes.
After all, the Jets had two straight wins, Shonn Greene was running the ball well and the defense looked like it was back on track so the narrative that bad attitudes led to losses didn't fit.
Holmes was asked about the report during his visit with the media on Wednesday and his answers weren't exactly the finger-wagging denial that people like to see when people are asked about something that portrays them in a bad light.
"Never heard that one. Next question," Holmes said of the report. "I didn’t talk to anybody about it. Never heard about it."
Something short of a full-throated denial, as was Holmes' answer about whether or not he was happy with his role in the offense. He simply said that "We're here winning ballgames right now," and there was nothing more on the subject.
It's funny how these things can play themselves out. There have been scores of players in history who get hailed for saying things about winning games mattering more than personal stats, but that's certainly not the response to Holmes' comments on Wednesday.
Some of it has to do with his previous complaints, obviously, and some has to do with the brusque manner in which Holmes delivered his answers about the report, but what Holmes said isn't particularly scandalous. Nor would it be scandalous for Holmes to be unhappy about his role in the offense, for that matter.
Any way you slice it, Holmes should have more than 22 catches at this point in the season. He's the best receiver on the team, he gets open regardless of the coverage teams try to play against him and he's able to turn short passes into big plays when the ball comes his way.
You can talk about winning and about having an offense that spreads the ball around all you want, but the fact of the matter is that the Jets aren't making good use of their biggest weapon. Where are the quick passes that see Mark Sanchez hit Holmes on the move, like the one that turned into a victory in overtime against Cleveland last season?
In short, Holmes should be upset about how he's getting used and there's nothing wrong with that if he isn't using the media as a way to lob insults at teammates or coaches about the way things are going. The team is winning, so such complaints would be hollow, but there's an important corollary.
The team will win even more with Holmes playing an expanded role, so it is something worth shining a spotlight on so long as it leads to a positive development.