The last time the New York Jets needed someone to cover a playmaking tight end, they turned to safety Antonio Allen. That came during week seven against the New England Patriots, and the tight end was Rob Gronkowski returning from injury. The end result? Gronkowski had eight receptions for 114 yards, and Allen had an interception that he returned for a touchdown to start the second half and start the Jets comeback in the eventual win.
This week the Jets face another playmaking tight end in New Orleans Saints‘ Jimmy Graham. Except it might not be Allen covering him. That job might be given to cornerback Antonio Cromartie. This is what Rex Ryan said about possibly putting Cromartie on Graham,
It’s a thought. I think from a size and skill-wise (standpoint), yeah, I think he could handle it. But that guy is a unique cat now. Graham has the speed of a receiver (and) the size of an offensive tackle.
With Graham being a faster player than Gronkowski, the Jets need to turn to a faster player than Allen. If the Jets do indeed use Cromartie to cover Graham, that will leave Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson, and Darrin Walls to cover Marques Colston and the remainder of the Saints’ receivers.
I find the idea to be very intriguing. However, I think it would be nice to mix it up a bit. I think the Jets should have Cromartie not cover him the entire time, but a majority of the time, sometimes with double team help from Allen, and sometimes have just Allen cover Graham and have Cromartie switch to Colston. If you keep switching up your defense, it will mess up the offense. The Jets need to mess with Drew Brees’ mind on Sunday defensively if they want to win, and that’d be a good way to do it. Plus, I can’t be too sure that Milliner would get the job done. He and Cromartie have both played poorly this season, but this is the game I expect Cromartie to step up.