Panthers secondary responds to Holmes' 'weakest link' insult

Panthers secondary responds to Holmes' 'weakest link' insult

Published Dec. 14, 2013 1:36 p.m. ET

The Carolina Panthers defense ranks fifth against the pass and their secondary is responsible for 12 of the team's 16 picks.

None of that stopped Santonio Holmes from insulting them though, as he called Carolina's secondary "probably their weakest link on their defense."

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan didn't think there was anything derogatory about this wide receiver's words, saying "I really think he certainly wasn't trying to be disrespectful."

Nonetheless, it's added motivation and its made its way to the Panthers locker room, where they didn't seem to see things the same way Ryan spun it.

"It's funny to me because we just go out there and play football and let our numbers speak for themselves." Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn told the Charlotte Observer. "We're ranked fifth in the league [in pass defense] for a reason."

Added Panthers coach Ron Rivera, "People are going to say what they want to say. That's fine. But that's why you play them on Sunday to find out."

While the Panthers (9-4) are in line for an NFC wild-card spot, the Jets (6-7) are merely  trying to keep their postseason hopes alive. Sitting ninth in the AFC, a loss to Carolina, coupled with a win by the Baltimore Ravens (who currently hold the No. 6 seed) would eliminate New York from playoff contention.

But this is a win the Jets need if they're going to realistically make a run, and considering they are 1-5 on the road with a minus-14 turnover margin, do they really need Holmes giving opponents any added motivation?  

"If he feels that way, there's a game that's going to be played at 4:05 on Sunday and we'll see what's going to happen then," Munnerlyn said.