Antonio Cromartie is not Darrelle Revis but he’s still ‘got a lot of talent’
|10.18.12 at 5:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Most observers assumed when Darrelle Revis went down on Sept. 23 in Miami with a torn ACL that the Jets defense – and specifically their secondary – was cooked.
After all, Antonio Cromartie – the man immediately pegged as Revis’ replacement – had been good but he didn’t figure to have leadership qualities that Revis commands when he enters a defensive backs meeting.
But Cromartie has stepped up to become the defensive back the Jets thought they were getting in 2010 when he joined the team after four seasons with the Chargers. He leads the Jets with three interceptions, including one each in New York’s last two games without Revis. The Jets are allowing just 209 passing yards per game. Only four defenses in the NFL are better this year against the pass.
“He’s talented,” said Brandon Lloyd, who faced Cromartie across the line of scrimmage in 2010, when Lloyd was with the Broncos. “He’s got a lot of talent, a lot of speed and plays really well.”
Lloyd had four catches for 74 yards, including one grab for 29 yards, in that Oct. 2010 meeting.
Then there’s Tom Brady, who was called a not-so nice name by Cromartie before their playoff game in Jan. 2011.
Now? Well, it’s all about mutual respect.
“I’ve always said I think he’s a great player,” Brady said this week. “I mean, he’s one of the best corners in the league and has been for a while. I usually don’t get into it much. Wish I could help you more.”
Brady did admit it will be strange to look out to his right and not see No. 24 in “Gang Green.”
“He’s a great player – one of the best I’ve ever gone against. At the same time, I think they’ve moved on from that situation and played really well last week against Indianapolis without him. They still have a very good defense. It’s built around their team and their scheme and they have very good players: big, powerful guys that run well, very instinctive.
“They have a lot of veteran players at safety and linebacker. Cromartie is a heck of a player in his own right and he’s had a great season, so he’s really assumed the role of matching to the opponent’s No. 1 receiver – or perceived No. 1 receiver. They seem like they’re still doing what they’ve always done and playing very well.”
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