Never, ever change, New York Jets. Please, always stay the same, and just do you. Be the toxic, self-depreciating mess you know you can be, and never develop the ability to self-censor, or think coherently while speaking to the media, and by extension your fans, coaches, teammates, and the universe.
When the thought of using Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie at wide receiver occasionally this year first surfaced, there was a distinct smell of desperation in the air. Then yesterday when he told the gaggle of gums who host ESPN’s First Take that if he had to rank himself among the Jets’ current wide receivers he’d be No. 2 behind only Santonio Holmes, the odor permeating through the training camp air took on a far more familiar flavor. Steaming hot crap.
It’s no secret that after they let Plaxico Burress walk following his one-year experiment, early in camp the Jets don’t seem to have a particularly deep group of wideouts beyond Holmes. Stephen Hill could change that perception quickly if he continues to impress during camp and throughout the preseason games, and the same can be said for second-year wideout Jeremy Kerley.
Regardless, a cornerback who doesn’t have a single career reception over six seasons and who’s only lined up as a receiver once so far through five training camp practices probably shouldn’t be making such a ridiculous public proclamation. Leave that to Holmes, who’s more than happy to both confuse and anger with his hypocritical radio rants.
When a player boastfully makes strong statements about his ability to play a position he’s never really played before, his teammates who are currently competing for their jobs and depth chart positions may not enjoy that too much. Teammates like, say, Chaz Schilens.
When the members of the Jets media who don’t carry team pom poms per Holmes’ request asked the Jets WRs about Cromartie’s comments, Schilens was blunt.
From the Newark Star-Ledger:
“I think it’s a slight, I’m not going to lie,” Schilens said today. “I just wouldn’t say it. It’s not something I would say, but I’m not him I guess.”
Schilens acknowledged that Cromartie may have been joking, but he said it isn’t something his teammate should have put out there.
“I kind of thought it was a joke, but then I guess he said it and it shows he feels,” Schilens said. “So it’s my job to, I guess, fix that situation. We’ll see, we’ll see what goes on in practice, but he’s entitled to think whatever he wants.”
Schilens also said Cromartie “doesn’t get” the position, and while it’s swell that Cromartie can run really fast and catch a football, that doesn’t mean he can be an effective receiver.
“Everyone know Cro is unbelievably, athletically gifted. Very fast. He’s a great athlete, but I’ve played with a lot of fast receivers, and playing receiver is about more than just being fast, so I’ll leave it at that.”
To be fair, Hill had a similar comment when he said “I always feel like I’m the best receiver on the team.” But that’s just a generic, confident statement from a player fighting for a position, whereas Cromartie was essentially claiming that he could win a starting job at a position he’s never played before on a full-time basis. Joke or not, it was unwise at best, and a continuation of the Jets’ dysfunctional locker room at worst.
Rex Ryan said during his Wednesday press conference that he’s aware of the comments made by Cromartie and Schilens, and he’s on top of it. Well good, I guess there’s nothing to worry about then.