New England Patriots: Antonio Cromartie

Getting to know the Jets

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
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The Patriots and Jets made headlines this offseason for a variety of reasons, with each team happy to get back to football in Week 1.

The teams also had similar outcomes during their season-opening games, as the Patriots marched to a narrow road victory over the Bills, while the Jets squeaked past the Buccaneers at home, with each team winning with a field goal in the closing seconds.

Neither team has had much time to think about their Week 1 victory, however, as they are each preparing on a short week, with the Patriots hosting the Jets this Thursday night in a nationally televised game.

Though the Jets are perhaps the Patriots' most familiar opponent, below is an overview on names and notes for Gang Green.

Record: 1-0 (t-1st in AFC East)
Head coach: Rex Ryan (fifth season)
Offensive coordinator: Marty Mornhinweg
Defensive coordinator: Dennis Thurman

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW, OFFENSE
1. QB Geno Smith. The player some thought could be the first man taken in this year’s draft ended up sliding to the Jets at pick 39 in Round 2, and now he’s the team’s starting QB. Incumbent starter Mark Sanchez went down with an injury during the preseason, putting an end to a bizarre competition that Smith may have won by default as much as anything else. The rookie fared pretty well in his first NFL action, completing 24-of-38 attempts for 256 yards and a touchdown. He turned the ball over twice and had some uneven moments during the game, but Smith’s second-half contributions were important in the dramatic win.

2. C Nick Mangold. The Patriots got a look at a terrific center last week in Eric Wood for Buffalo, but Mangold may well set the standard league-wide among interior linemen. He’s dependable, strong, smart, athletic and a leader for an offense that needs it. Mangold and Vince Wilfork have shared glowing praise for each other previously, and that’s a one-on-one battle worth watching. He left the team’s season opener with an elbow injury, but later returned.

3. RB Bilal Powell/RB Chris Ivory. Ivory was acquired through a draft day trade in New Orleans, and though his poor Week 1 production (just 15 yards on 10 carries) has some wondering what to make of his prospects, he’s a gifted runner who can smash through traffic. Powell, meanwhile, was the starter in Week 1 and the Jets’ leading carrier with 12 rushes, though he too was held in check by the Bucs’ run D.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW, DEFENSE
1. DL Muhammad Wilkerson. Versatile, strong, disruptive and tough, Wilkerson is one of the best young defensive linemen in the NFL. He’s been everything the Jets had hoped when they snatched him with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft. He’s been productive as a pro (he had 69 tackles and 5.0 sacks last season), but the numbers don’t tell the whole story on Wilkerson. He has the ability to move around the line if needed and he’s the type of player the Patriots’ offensive line will seek out before every snap and identify where he’s aligned.

2. CB Antonio Cromartie. When he’s at his best, Cromartie is an incredibly difficult cornerback to throw at. He’s long, fast and has good ball skills, something the Jets have relied on since acquiring him in a trade with the Chargers in 2010. He’s never been afraid to speak his mind and has a short memory on the field -- a good thing for a defensive back. With Darrelle Revis now in Tampa Bay, Cromartie is the leader of the Jets secondary.

3. LB David Harris. Our take on Harris? An underrated rock in the middle of the Jets defense. He was an All-Pro pick in 2009, but that’s the extent of his individual player honors, despite the fact that he’s had three seasons with 123 or more tackles and has 22.5 sacks in six years. The Jets rely heavily on Harris as a defensive quarterback, working closely with head coach Rex Ryan and new defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman.

Other notes: The Jets had a pair of first-round picks this year, using both on defensive players. Cornerback Dee Milliner made a couple of tackles in Week 1, while defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson shined with seven stops and a half sack. ... 2012 first-round pick Quinton Coples, whom the team moved from defensive end to outside linebacker this offseason, remains out with a hairline fracture in his ankle. ... The Jets exchanged Landrys at safety this offseason, losing LaRon in free agency while signing his brother, Dawan. He made an interception in his Jets debut. ... Veteran receiver Santonio Holmes was active in Week 1 after a long recovery from a Lisfranc injury, totaling one catch on three targets.

Jets have been OK without Revis so far

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
1:30
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Among the major injuries suffered through six weeks of the NFL regular season, perhaps none has been more significant than Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis' ACL tear that has shelved him for the balance of 2012.

Revis is widely regarded as the top cornerback in football, and is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, regardless of position.

He's missed each of the team's previous three games, though the secondary has managed to hold their opponents to an average of just under 211 passing yards per game in his absence.

Coach Bill Belichick, when discussing the way the Jets' defense has adjusted without Revis, noted that Antonio Cromartie has absorbed the top cornerback duties.

"First of all, they're kind of a game plan defense, so they attack teams differently depending on what those teams do, so I don't know how they would or wouldn't have attacked them if they had a different combination of players," Belichick said of the Jets playing without Reivs. "But that being said, they basically match (Antonio) Cromartie to the opponent's top receiver, or the guy they want to put him on, and Kyle Wilson has gone opposite of him, and then Ellis Lankster has really taken over as the third corner, although they play a lot of five, six, seven at-times DB personnel groupings depending on the situation, but also the personnel group of the offense out there."

Cromartie has stepped up to the task, notching interceptions in each of the Jets' past two games. Belichick says he's a talented cornerback who is a threat with the football in his hands.

"He has very good ball skills, and when he gets around the ball, he can catch it like he did against us last year," he said. "We had a tipped ball down there, and he's got very good hand-eye coordination, good ball skills, he's a big guy. When he gets the ball in his hands, he's a very good runner, returner, he has a little bit of that background. He's having a good year. They're asking him to do a lot, and he's stepping up and doing it."

Cromartie not backing off comments

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
4:49
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Antonio Cromartie, who told the New York Daily News he thought Tom Brady was an "ass----", didn't back off his statements Wednesday afternoon.

"I've said what I had to say. My opinion is never going to change about Brady," he said. "At the end of the day, it's going to be what it's going to be. I hate him, he hates me, he hates the Jets, who cares?"

Does Cromartie hope that Brady goes after him on the field.

"I hope so, I really do. I hope he throws the ball 10 times my way -- more chances to make him pay," Cromartie said.

He's not worried about supplying bulletin board material for the Pats.

"They can have all the material they want to," he said. "It's about what you do between the white lines. They don't care what we say."

And his feelings won't change.

"It's ongoing. It's been since 2006," Cromartie said. "As long as I'm in the NFL and as long as he's in the NFL there's going to be that hatred."

Cromartie says he 'hates' Brady

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
8:29
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It didn't take long for Round 3 of Jets-Patriots to escalate. And this time it wasn't Rex Ryan doing the talking.

No, it was Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who called Patriots quarterback Tom Brady an "ass----" and said he hates him, according to the New York Daily News.

Cromartie was asked about Brady pointing to the Jets' sideline after throwing a touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, which gave New England a 38-3 lead in its eventual 45-3 win on Dec. 6.

"We see that a lot. He does it a lot," Cromartie told the Daily News. "That's the kind of guy he is. We really don't give a damn, to tell you the truth."

Asked what kind of guy Brady is, Cromartie said "ass----," according to the Daily News.

Why?

"That's what I think about him. I don't really give a damn about him," he said, according to the report. "I don't have to play against him. I play against the receivers."

While watching Patriots game film, Cromartie said the Jets have noticed Brady's penchant for pointing.

"He's doing the pointing at our defensive line and stuff like that," Cromartie said, according to the report. "That's the kind of a guy he is. He's a competitor, he loves what he's doing. He's going to compete. When you're competing, you are not worrying about anything else, about what anybody else is doing. You're just worried about what you have to do."

The Jets' Shaun Ellis also said he saw Brady pointing during the Dec. 6 rout, according to the New York Post.

"When they scored, he'd look over to our sideline and do a little body language and all that," Ellis said, according to the Post. "He was fired up for that game. We're going to get the same thing this week. It's for us as a defense to go out there and shut him down."

Read more HERE.

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