+1 to every post, cept #19. Then its a +2
Cromartie has been really good since Revis went down.
Code:Tar Rec Yards TD INT PD Crabtree 3 0 0 0 0 2 A. Johnson 4 0 0 0 1 0 Wayne 6 3 32 0 1 0
For us to maximize our chances at winning in Foxboro this Sunday, we are going to need a big play or two out of him regardless what position it is at.
Sent from my LG-P999
Jets' Antonio Cromartie finally turning a corner, and just at the right time
By Jenny Vrentas/The Star-Ledger
December 17, 2011 at 11:45 PM
updated December 18, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Dennis Thurman had anticipated this moment for 21 months, ever since the Jets traded for cornerback Antonio Cromartie in March of last year. It finally happened last week, on the practice field during team drills.
“For 5½ years, I did it on physical talent,” Cromartie admitted to Thurman.
“I see why I need to do more.”
The Jets’ defensive backs coach, and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and head coach Rex Ryan, had been waiting for their perhaps most physically gifted player to evolve from mercurial to consistent.
They reinforced the techniques that have made counterpart Darrelle Revis the best in the league, namely using his hands aggressively at the line of scrimmage, and relying on his eyes and quick feet down the field.
They weathered Cromartie’s maddening peaks and valleys early this season: two touchdowns surrendered on opening night, two interceptions the next week, then four penalties the game after that.
But the past few weeks, the coaching staff’s patience has seemed to pay off. Now playing for the Jets, they say, is the best Antonio Cromartie they have seen — just in time for their playoff push, continuing this afternoon in Philadelphia against the Eagles.
“He decided that he was going to be a great player, and I think that’s what it is, because he’s got as much God-given ability as any corner I’ve ever been around,” Ryan said. “When he’s playing at a high level, our defense plays at a high level.”
• • •
Cromartie, of course, was the other party in this summer’s high-stakes bidding war for Nnamdi Asomugha. The 27-year-old waited at his home in California — “sitting back and relaxing” — while Asomugha largely froze the free-agent market for cornerbacks, keeping the Jets and other suitors on ice as he weighed his options.
Asomugha will be on the opposite sideline with the Eagles today. About 48 hours after the former Raiders star turned down the Jets for a more lucrative offer in Philadelphia, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum closed in on a four-year, $32 million deal with Cromartie.
The Jets knew Cromartie had been prone to inconsistent play during his first season with the team in 2010. They also knew about his wealth of physical gifts that cannot be taught, including 6-2 size, 4.4 speed and 6-7 wingspan. They were confident their coaching could bridge the gap.
“It’s almost like the light is coming on for him,” Thurman explained.
“Because there was, for whatever reason, a little hesitation in terms of some of the things that we really emphasized to him. It took him awhile.”
Thurman likened Cromartie to a 44 percent basketball shooter who is told by a coach that if he changes his technique slightly, he could make 51 percent of his shots. A 30 percent shooter would jump at the chance. But a 44 percent shooter may be reluctant, because he is already having success.
So Thurman was patient while Cromartie, now in his sixth NFL season, tentatively absorbed the technical minutiae that separate good cornerbacks from great ones. During the offseason, the coaches produced a cut-ups reel to prove to Cromartie the difference when he knocks receivers off the line of scrimmage vs. when he does not.
That reinforcement carried over into practice this fall. Thurman avoided brow-beating but used the practice tape as proof, calmly pointing out, “Cro, see what happened?” Thurman often reminded him to “keep your eyes on your work,” meaning that he must make sure he is in position with the receiver to make a play before looking for the ball.
Midway through this season, Cromartie’s coaches and teammates noticed a change. Pettine said it started after the bye week. Thurman pinned it more recently, after the home New England loss in Week 10.
The Jets’ secondary was “exposed” in that game by Tom Brady and Co., Thurman admitted. The defense allowed 329 passing yards and three touchdown catches, often appearing out of position or overmatched.
The game film was humbling across the board. Cromartie watched himself look silly on a 12-yard catch by Chad Ochocinco on the Patriots’ first drive. He turned back for the ball at least three seconds too soon, ending up more than 10 yards downfield when Ochocinco hauled in the pass.
Thurman issued a challenge to his defensive backs after that game: This is what happens when you are inconsistent. Are you going to be as good as you think you can be? The focus of the group changed, he said, and Cromartie was at the front of the line.
“There are doubters every day,” Cromartie said. “My job is to prove doubters wrong, and try to help this team and this organization get to the big game, and that’s the Super Bowl.”
• • •
Cromartie has acknowledged his early ups and downs and, looking back, he attributes them to a quest for perfection. When he made a mistake, he did not always have the short memory his position requires. He worked on thinking less, while also vowing to use his practice time to commit the techniques preached by Thurman to muscle memory. Ryan has a saying: “Master your habits, or your habits will master you.”
The only touchdown Cromartie has given up since the second New England loss came off a fluky deflection that landed in the hands of former teammate Brad Smith, now with the Bills. Through the first six games, Cromartie had surrendered all three of the opponents’ passing touchdowns.
He has allowed completions on just 37.5 percent of passes directed his way in the past four games, below his season average, according to the football statistics website Pro Football Focus.
For the season, he has the league’s fifth-best burn percentage (42.5) among cornerbacks who have been targeted at least 60 times, according to Statspass. Revis ranks third.
Last week’s victory against Kansas City was the most consistent 60 minutes Thurman has seen Cromartie play. On a fade route to Jonathan Baldwin in the second half, Cromartie was the aggressor at the line of scrimmage, disrupting the timing of the route so the throw was off.
Thurman was also proud of a third-down stop on which Cromartie smartly bailed on press coverage to back up and protect against a deep throw, tackling the receiver short of the first-down marker.
“He’s responded, I think, to the situation,” Pettine said. “He’s been challenged by me, by Dennis Thurman, by Rex. He’s a prideful guy, and he wants to succeed.”
Those challenges have been in private and public, notably Pettine’s comments about Cromartie’s vexing inconsistency at a press conference before the San Diego Chargers game in Week 7.
Pettine said he was at a loss for the reason behind Cromartie’s unpredictable play, deadpanning that perhaps it’s “a horoscope thing.” He also revealed that he calls down to Thurman on game day over the headset, asking whether the Jets had “good Cro” or “bad Cro” that day, and would adjust his defensive calls accordingly.
Cromartie heard. He and Pettine had an informal conversation. Pettine told his player that his words came out differently in print than he had intended — though looking back, maybe his candor was a good thing.
The last time he’s had to adjust for “bad Cro?” “I haven’t had one in a while,” Pettine said. Thurman added more definitively: “It doesn’t happen.”
Instead, the Jets now see a player brimming with confidence. On the practice field, Cromartie will shout out two or three possible plays as soon as the scout team lines up in a formation, baffling the coaches with his scope of knowledge.
Cromartie says he watches film for about 12 extra hours per week after he leaves the facility, and he also spends about three hours breaking down the opposing receivers with Revis.
Revis’ unfailing ability to shut down one side of the field gives tremendous flexibility to the Jets defense. When Cromartie is playing well, too, “the entire call sheet is open,” Pettine said. Cromartie’s uptick has coincided with the Jets’ three-game winning streak.
Even when the Jets were pursuing Asomugha, they stayed in contact with Cromartie. Thurman texted or called him daily. Tannenbaum spoke to him at the beginning of the Asomugha chase, telling Cromartie, “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t look around the market. And you’ve earned the right to be a free agent.”
If the Jets had to have Asomugha, they would have upped their initial offer, but they never did. They saw the talent of a No. 1 cornerback in Cromartie, and now they are starting to see a No. 1 cornerback emerge.
“It’s like he’s coming out of his cocoon, which is kind of scary,” Thurman said. “Because if he continues to work at his game, and he continues to want to improve as a corner, then with his athletic ability and his physical talent, really the sky is the limit. It is up to him.”
Last edited by C Mart; 10-16-2012 at 11:11 AM.
Hopefully Cro having to return more kicks this week won't keep him from lining up on O a bit. Looking forward to seeing him matched up vs NE's young/suspect corners.
So who's gonna print the "AlCROtraz" T-Shirts?
I thought Cromartie sucked. Where are you Cro haters? Was Wilson on the field. I wonder why Luck didn't pick on him? Doesn't he know Wilson sucks too? Crazy it actually seems like Cro is really thriving with Revis gone and doing a much better job than Revis at QBing the secondary. He's actually making the rest of the players better. Revis truly seems to be an island. Cro seems much more vocal out there. I hope he doesn't go back in his shell when Revis comes back.