The Good and the Bad Sides of Antonio Cromartie


September 16, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Jets defense is predicated on having excellent cornerbacks on the outside. Rex Ryan wants to bring pressure early, and often. They need to have great coverage on the outside in order to do so. We know who we have on the one side, Darrelle Revis. The best player on the team, maybe the best defensive player in the entire sport.

But then, we have Antonio Cromartie. Say a lot about Antonio Cromartie, but he too, is up there as one of the best athletes on the football team. He is that needed shutdown corner, when he is giving his best effort. When he isn’t, well, we have seen how he is when not giving his best effort. In two games this year already, we have seen the good, and the bad from Antonio Cromartie.

Let me show you what I mean. First we will take a look at the good, Antonio’s interception from the Buffalo game.

The pick took place in the 3rd quarter of the game week 1. Ryan Fitzpatrick is lined up in the shotgun, and Antonio Cromartie is line up against the receiver at the top of the screen. The intended target, David Nelson, is in the slot left, just below Cromartie on your screen.

Fast forward to the screen above. Fitzpatrick takes the snap, and is staring down David Nelson the entire way. The alert version of Antonio Cromartie sees this, and knows where the ball is going. As you see in the shot(although small), Cromartie breaks away from his man, and to the spot that the quarterback is going to make the throw to.

Cromartie breaks on the ball. Nelson has no chance. INT for Cromartie, TD for the Jets.

Turn the page for the bad Antonio Cromartie.

Now we are going to take a look at the other side. This is a look at the Mike Wallace touchdown from last week.

The Steelers line Ben up in the gun, Wallace is down to the bottom of the screen, to the inside of Antonio Brown. Cromartie is down at the bottom as well, lined up near Kyle Wilson.

Let’s watch as this progresses down the field.

Big Ben is scrambling around a bit to buy himself some time, as he is facing some pressure from the Jets’ front. Mike Wallace is making his move to the outside. With Kyle Wilson on Antonio Brown, it’s Wallace and Cromartie one on one as they head on down the field. Ben is getting ready to let it go for Wallace, and give his guy a chance to make a play….

As we pull ahead, we isloate on the Cromartie/Wallace matchup. Look at the position that Cromartie has. It’s actually really good. At the five yard line, Cromartie is right with Wallace, keeping his body between the receiver and the quarterback. In this position, it will take a perfect throw from Ben for a completion.

Turn the page, and we will look at how it plays out.

As we watch these guys battle down to the goaline(sorry as always for the size), we see that Cromartie is keeping his excellent position on Wallace, as the ball is heading their way. The next picture will show you where Cromartie lost his concentration.

Here is where Cromartie shows us that he is not paying attention. Instead of looking back for the ball, he keeps running. Wallace stops because the ball is coming down. Cromartie runs past Wallace, leaving him the opportunity to make the leaping catch.

Wallace makes the leaping catch, somehow gets his feet in bounds, Cromartie doesn’t come back quick enough to knock him out of bounds first, and it’s over. Touchdown Steelers. And a prime example of how Cromartie can look when he is not giving his best effort.

Antonio Cromartie has the ability to perform like of of the best players on the New York Jets. When he is putting out 100% effort, he is as good as they come. When he doesn’t, he looks really bad.

Hopefully we will see more of the good than the bad going forward.