With the New York Jets searching for answers at the wide receiver position, cornerback Antonio Cromartie is aiming to bring his playmaking ability to the offensive side of the ball this year. During the first week of training camp, Cromartie told ESPN’s First Take that he is without a doubt the Jets’ ‘second-best’ receiving option behind only seven year veteran Santonio Holmes.
Several teammates resented the defensive back’s bold declaration interpreting it as a slight to the current list of Jets’ wideouts. In an effort to promote team chemistry and locker room camaraderie head coach Rex Ryan reprimanded Cromartie for his divisive remarks urging him to focus on bonding with his teammates.
New York’s offensive coordinator Tony Sparano increased Cromartie’s practice workload at wide receiver during training camp in order to bring a dynamic element to the Jets’ pass attack.
“I mean ever since high school and in college I was a two-way guy,” said Cromartie of adjusting to his expanded role as a wide receiver. “So it was just something I wanted to try to do up here too. I mean there was no inspiration behind it, I just wanted to try to do it up here on this level.”
While Cromartie is making a smooth transition from cornerback to receiver, his defensive teammates jokingly refer to him as a ‘traitor’ during practice sessions.
According to Cromartie the light hearted teasing is all in good fun.
“I’m not a traitor when we’re on the same team," quipped Cromartie. “I feel like I can help, so yeah I feel like I’m a traitor for the day, but I can take it.”
The extent and scope of Cromartie’s receiving role isn’t crystal clear, but New York’s cornerback could bring his ball-hawking instincts to the Jets’ offense as soon as Saturday night’s preseason game against the New York Giants.
“I mean just facing up against a defensive back, you know the “ins and outs” and also on how you want to try to get the defensive back to turn his hips and things like that," said Cromartie of the similarities between cornerback and wide receiver. “So I think that will help me out when I line up at receiver a lot more.”