Antonio Cromartie came to the rescue of the New York Jets by doing exactly what he has been doing all along. When Darrelle Revis went down with an ACL injury that ended his 2012 season, many wondered how the Jets would be able to cope. The next man up, Antonio Cromartie, had been a whipping boy targeted by those who measured his performance purely on the absolute results instead of his positioning and actual coverage on those plays. Antonio Cromartie was a victim of bad luck last season and with Darrelle Revis going down, all eyes have been on him – and he has produced big time, proving that he is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. As a result, tons of people are now praising his play.
If you've been a regular reader you know that Antonio Cromartie has been performing at an extremely high level since last season. Antonio Cromartie was snake-bitten last season by some fluke plays, but he was more physical at the line of scrimmage and as a result his coverage was much better. After being targeted often as the cornerback opposite Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie flipped the script in 2011 and was only targeted once more than Darrelle Revis over the course of the season.
But nobody cared about that. They only cared about the fact that teams were scoring and Antonio Cromartie was the nearest defender, despite how good his coverage was on the play. Throw out the fact that three of the touchdowns he gave up in 2011 were a jump ball to Dez Bryant, simultaneous possession with Miles Austin and a ball he tipped falling into the hands of Brad Smith. They were scores, and that's all that mattered.
Now, Antonio Cromartie is coming off of back-to-back weeks shutting down two of the most respected wide receivers in the game, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne. He has been the perfect replacement for Darrelle Revis, and is making big plays with interceptions in both of those matchups against premier wide receivers. In fact, in those two games Reggie Wayne had a combined six catches, while Antonio Cromartie had two interceptions.
So now his bandwagon is filling up, with fickle observers jumping all over the improved results and claiming that he has stepped up his game. When in reality, his actual performance is very close to what he was doing last season, just with better luck and better results.
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