Commentary

Antonio Allen gets call at corner

Updated: September 2, 2014, 5:27 PM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Antonio Allen said Tuesday he has been told that he will start at cornerback for the New York Jets in Sunday's regular-season opener against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium.

Allen had been out since suffering a concussion in the team's third preseason game against the New York Giants, but was medically cleared to return to practice on Tuesday. He wasn't required to wear a red (non-contract) jersey at practice, as he did last Friday.

Allen, a converted safety who is entering his third season in the NFL, will be making his first career start at cornerback. The 25-year-old had to switch positions because the Jets are extremely depleted in the secondary.

[+] EnlargeAntonio Allen
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsAntonio Allen will start at cornerback in the Jets' banged-up secondary Sunday against the Raiders.

Their most experienced cornerback, Dee Milliner, didn't practice on Tuesday and is not expected to play against the Raiders due to a high-ankle sprain, which has kept him out since Aug. 10.

Third-year pro Darrin Walls, 26, is expected to make just his fifth career start opposite Allen.

"I feel pretty good with my preparation," Allen said. "I went out there, had a decent day today, didn't give up any deep balls. I just competed well and hopefully I can do that in a game. ... I wouldn't say I'm quite comfortable yet but I feel like I'm getting there."

Allen had made two starts at cornerback in the preseason before going down with the injury, which occurred in the first half when he accidentally collided into linebacker Demario Davis.

Asked if he expects quarterbacks to go after him given his lack of experience at the position, Allen responded, "Maybe. I hope so. ... I'll be ready when they throw it my way."

Allen said his transition from safety to cornerback has gone "pretty well." He certainly didn't expect to switch positions, but feels like he has the team's schemes down.

"It's been different," he said. "But you've got cornerbacks going down, and we have a lot of safeties, so mostly everybody will probably get to play, and guys just have to fill in at other positions and be ready to play when their number is called."

Allen and Walls certainly weren't the cornerbacks the Jets expected to start in Week 1. But Milliner got hurt, and the other projected starter, Dimitri Patterson, who went AWOL last week, was released by the Jets last Saturday.

The Jets signed cornerback Phillip Adams for depth purposes on Monday after releasing fellow cornerback Ellis Lankster two days earlier.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Walls and Milliner are the only cornerbacks on New York's roster who played at least 400 snaps last season.

The Raiders will start rookie quarterback Derek Carr on Sunday, and the Jets are 7-3 against first-year signal-callers under head coach Rex Ryan.

Mike Mazzeo

ESPN New York Writer

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