Over the summer Jets fans weren’t the only ones waiting and wishing Darrelle Revis would sign. It's true, Brandon Marshall was actually looking forward to playing against the stand-out cornerback when the Jets visited Miami on Sept. 26.
Unfortunately, Marshall’s trip to “Revis Island” has been postponed, but a consolation trip to “AlCrotraz” has been arranged instead.
But just when Jets fans started feeling confident about Antonio Cromartie, following his second-half shutdown of Randy Moss on Sunday, Chris Mortensen of ESPN had everyone pushing the panic button again with the following tweet:
Relax, everyone. Calm your fears and let’s look into the Cromartie/Marshall match-up a little deeper.
Mortensen’s tweet was 100 percent factually accurate, but there are a lot more details about Marshall’s record performance that day that Mort left out.
Sunday night will not be the first time the two players have met on the field. Counting their AFC West days, Cromartie and Marshall have been on the same field four times since 2008. Marshall played lights out against San Diego in September of that year, but to intimate that Cromartie was to blame for the 18-catch, 166-yard performance that day isn’t fair.
Somewhere Quentin Jammer is still hiding under the covers from the nightmare that was that game.
Like ESPN’s Tim Graham reported, Cromartie only defended Marshall on five of those 18 receptions, giving up 49 yards, including a 6-yard TD.
What’s even better? In three meetings since, Marshall recorded only three catches for 31 yards and got nowhere near the end zone.
Stats mean nothing right? There are many factors that can be argued regarding simple numbers so here are some more reasons to have some confidence that Cromartie can handle the big guy on Sunday:
1. Jay Cutler doesn’t wear teal and orange
It doesn’t take an NFL genius to realize that Chad Henne isn’t exactly Cutler. In two games the Chicago Bears quarterback has thrown more than 300 yards more than Henne. Cutler threw for 350 during Marshall’s big game in 2008.
For some reason I don’t think Henne will come close to that against the Jets’ defense.
2. Cromartie is out of the “zone.”
The one complaint Cromartie had about the Chargers was that they played too much zone coverage. Allowing separation and playing off the receiver against a wide receiver of Marshall’s caliber in a typical zone package isn’t so effective.
Unlike Moss, Marshall is a skilled route runner and doesn’t just rely on his straight-line speed to beat the secondary. He’ll beat you on a variety of short routes with his speed and cutting ability. Cromartie covering him man-to-man with safety help over the top should keep him in check the entire game.
3. Jim Leonhard and Brodney Pool easily beat Clinton Hart and Eric Weddle to take home the award for Best Supporting Cast
If Marshall beats Cromartie in double coverage, safeties can be relied upon to bring him down.
So enjoy your trip to AlCrotraz, Brandon.
Matching up with Marshall shouldn’t be a reason for Cromartie or to lose any sleep this week.
By the way, I hear Revis Island is a great place to visit in mid-December