When the New York Jets lost All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis for the season with a torn ACL back in Week 3, the days of the shutdown cornerback were supposed to be over in New York, at least for this season.
Well, apparently Antonio Cromartie (above, #31 ) didn’t get that memo.
The 28-year-old Cromartie has played at a Pro Bowl caliber level here in 2012, even though he’s been facing even better competition this year, with his partner in crime Revis out of commission.
Cromartie has only made one Pro Bowl and All-Pro team in his career, back in 2007 with the San Diego Chargers.
However in 2012, Cromartie has been shutting down receivers at a Revis-like pace, allowing just 39% of throws targeting him in coverage to be completed, which is the lowest catch rate allowed in the NFL.
Quarterbacks have just a 46.5 quarterback rating on throws targeting Cromartie, which is in the top 10 in the league. He has 3 interceptions and 8 passes defensed in 41 targets, among the league leaders in both categories as well.
Not only has he been blanketing opposing wideouts like Revis used to, but Cromartie has even been defending the run well this year, too.
Cromartie has made 18 total tackles without a single missed tackle this year, which is a stark contrast from his days as a Charger when he was often criticized for his reluctance to get involved on running plays.
While he’s always had the talent to be one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Cromartie is finally reaching his potential here in his third season with the Jets, as the seventh-year veteran has taken on more of a leadership role.
If he keeps it up, Cromartie will be back in the Pro Bowl this season, where he very much belongs. The Jets have been able to survive the loss of their best player, and Cromartie has been the biggest reason why.
No Revis Island? No problem for the Jets secondary. Now, opposing receivers fear getting trapped on Al-Cro-traz.