Much of the spotlight is on top rookies Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal and Wan’Dale Robinson, and of course much of the spotlight is on Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones as they begin the battle to remain giants…but Darnay Holmes was the unexpected star of training camp.
“I go out there with a ‘You gotta deal with me’ mentality,” Holmes told The Post. “It’s just the approach you have to take in life in general. Being passive these days isn’t the best thing unless it’s with a woman. But other than that, just being in tune with yourself, understanding that when things go wrong, it doesn’t define you, so just having more of a mindset of progression and not stagnation.
The progression showed in the first week of practice in three interceptions, including a Pick Six and a forced fumble from Saquon Barkley – which makes you believe the best is yet to come for Holmes, which is at his current location around the corner from the slot or maybe even outside if Aaron Robinson doesn’t cut it.
“I would say what drove me when I was young was the fear of not being who I know who I could be,” Holmes said. “And what drives me now is still that.”
Holmes has two interceptions in nine career starts over two injury-plagued seasons, including a broken rib that ended his 2021. That was then. It is now.
“Confidence is something I feel like you need to work on, and it comes from preparation, it comes from a spiritual side and it comes from a visual side, visualize yourself succeeding, manifesting that success,” Holmes said. “Really just understanding that you can’t let your confidence come from your results because then you’re going to be a roller coaster. So just staying balanced and knowing that my confidence comes from the man upstairs and it comes of the process in which I lock myself.
Holmes said Barkley taught him to visualize last season.
What did he learn?
“Just go through different play calls that you know were on the loan list, and visualize different formations that might come with it or visualize your game and when things go your way, how you take it when things don’t go your way, how you react, so when this stuff happens, it doesn’t just shake you up, you’ve been there before.
Dbacks Academy Sports Performance life coach Brian Walker mentored Holmes ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft and witnessed his growth during the offseason at Mackay Park in Englewood, NJ
“I noticed he got faster,” Walker told the Post. “The most important thing is that he’s healthy. He’s adapted to the NFL lifestyle. He’s a Californian, so he’s adapted to the East Coast. He’s always been mature, but I think for him he sees there’s an opportunity with [CB James] Bradberry goes to another team [the Eagles] – inside, outside – he’s just motivated to get better as a player.
Holmes is 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, and fearless.
“Physically he’s gotten a lot leaner,” Walker said. “He just looks defined and cut. He just prepares to play any position they want him to.
Holmes reconnaissance report on Holmes:
“He is physical. Quick, I would say. Good instincts, ball skills and he could be a guy who could cover any size if it had to be done.
How far does Darnay Holmes go?
“I personally view him as a young man who could be a Pro Bowler,” Walker said. “I always said he reminded me of a guy like Chris Harris, who’s a Pro Bowler. He also reminds me of DeAngelo Hall with that size. Even though they think Darnay is short, he’s 5-10,190, so he’s an inch shorter than [Darrelle] Revive, if so.
Holmes was a star running back and a five-star receiver and rookie at Calabasas HS “That’s why I like getting my hands on the ball, being able to show some things,” he said with a smile.
He stole the show.
“I’ve seen him grow as a person and it shows in his game,” CB Adoree’ Jackson said. “I’ve known him since I was 17, 16 and I’m about to turn 27. It’s like 10 years of knowing him and seeing him at the highest level, being able to play and compete, c is just awesome to see.”
Starnay raves about head coach Brian Daboll: “He lets us run the show, but he’s very diligent about what he expects of us.
And he raves about defensive coordinator Wink Martindale: “He’s a down-to-earth guy. He’s a guy who wants everyone to win. He cares about all of our success, which is hard to find in this world.
Holmes Sweet Holmes.