Sept 23, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan talks with cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
It’s a new era in Jets land, and one nobody wanted to begin. The rest of 2012 will be a “Post-Revis” period, thanks to last week’s ACL injury. “Next man up” mode officially begins tomorrow afternoon when the Jets take on the 49ers. That means, everyone’s favorite Jekyll and Hyde cornerback, Antonio Cromartie, moves up to the number one position. Can he do it?
Coach Pettine thinks that he can. Here is what he had to say about Cromartie:
I think he proved that against Miami’s top receiver. He had the one lapse on the one play in overtime, but up until that point, I think (Brian) Hartline had been targeted eight times and didn’t have a catch. As we all know, when Cro (Cromartie) is dialed in, he can be as good as there is in the game. That’s his challenge and he knows it. It didn’t even need to be said that (he) needs to step up, that there are going to be some defenses (where) we’re not all of a sudden going to change our package and become a Tampa-Two team and say we’re going to protect our corners every snap. That’s not what we do, so there are going to be times where he’s going to be asked to do that and when it has happened in the past, he has risen to the occasion. Again, we’re full speed ahead. I know Cromartie does a great job of preparing and we’re expecting him to play well.
For what it is worth, Antonio feels he is up to the task. He has contended that he is the second best corner in the game after Darrelle. Now being hurt, Cromartie feels he is tops in the game. Take a look at an exchange on the subject as reported by the Daily News:
How many cornerbacks other than Revis are better than him? “None.” You’re saying you’re the second-best corner in the NFL? “Yup.” Really? “Yup.” You believe that? “Yup.” You’re better than Nnamdi (Asomugha)? “Yup.” Were you better than Nnamdi two years ago? “Yup.”
Bottom line, does Antonio think he can take out a number one receiver each week, the rest of the way?
“I’ve done it before,” he said. “I’m ready.”
It’s great to see that he is confident. Not that this is unexpected from Antonio of course, but confidence doesn’t hurt, if you back it up. We all have seen what happens when Antonio is not concentrating, and he doesn’t back it up. We have, as the Jets put it “Bad Cro”. If we see too much of Bad Cro in 2012, the Jets playoff chances could go out the window with Darrelle Revis’ ACL.
The journey begins tomorrow.