Last Friday the Jets told a joke. It was so funny that I even wrote it down in my diary.
They said that Antonio Cromartie may be deployed at wide receiver on occasion. While he’s certainly athletic, his explosiveness as a cornerback and/or return man doesn’t match, say, Devin Hester’s, meaning that slotting a career corner out wide seems like little more than a desperate plea for help.
It’s now Tuesday night, and the Jets are still talking about playing Cromartie at wide receiver and adding more gizmos to their offensive gadgetry led by Tim Tebow, even though through six professional seasons Cromartie’s never had a reception. Or, more accurately, Cromartie is talking about being a receiver, and he’s talking rather boastfully, a truly rare occurrence in the Jets’ locker room. Which leads us to deduce that something–most likely more practice time at the position–is feeding his confidence.
Cromartie appeared on ESPN’s First Take, the glorious epicenter for intelligent football discourse in which Tebow’s shirtless body in the rain is the springboard for enlightening discussion. Stepping right into the buzz saw of the narrative creation machine, Cromartie was asked to compare himself to the other current Jets wide receivers, and give himself a rank.
And of course, he was exceedingly modest.
“I think I’d put myself as second. I haven’t really played it in the past four or five years, but I can put myself as the second just with raw ability and talent going out there, I think, me separating and being a more physical guy out there on the outside.”
Please elaborate further…
“Kerley is a more of a slot receiver, he’s a slot guy, Stephen Hill is a younger guy that can get down the field. I think, for me, I can run every single route in the route tree. I’m not going to take anything away from my ability, so when you ask me that question, I’m going to say, yes, I believe I’m one of the best receivers on the football team, next to Santonio Holmes.”
He’s referring to Jeremy Kerley, the second-year receiver who’s started only one game and had 29 receptions last year for a very respectable 314 yards considering his minimal playing time. Kerley didn’t record his first reception until Week 5 of the 2011 season.
Cromartie is right, though, and Kerley may indeed be better suited for the slot. But then he’s also claiming superiority over Hill, a second-round pick who had 820 receiving yards last year at Georgia Tech, and showed his dominant deep speed by averaging 29.3 yards per reception.
Confidence is nice, Antonio, but it should always be trumped by reality. And reality says that if Cromartie is used for anything more than a rare trick play appearance on offense, there have been some serious shortcomings among the Jets’ wide receivers.