Cornerback Antonio Cromartie gets his chance on offense
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Even when he was a Chargers rookie, Antonio Cromartie had his sights set on lighting up the field with his feet and his hands. And Monday, he took a step toward that goal. The Jets cornerback participated with receivers in drills, taking instruction from No. 1 wideout Santonio Holmes.
"It felt good getting back out there," said Cromartie, who set off a firestorm earlier in training camp when he said he is the Jets' second-best receiver. "I just have to be ready, period, whenever my number's called. I'm looking forward to it. I've been waiting for this opportunity for a while to play it both ways in the NFL."
Cromartie said he's bugged Rex Ryan to use him on both sides of the ball ever since he joined the Jets in 2010. He got five snaps at wide receiver last season, and the coaching staff now seems more inclined to use the cornerback on offense. Why?
"Because we have a different coordinator," Cromartie said with a laugh, referring to Tony Sparano, who replaced Brian Schottenheimer. "I'm finally getting my chance. I got a couple plays last year. But I think this year, I'll actually get a chance to play a little more receiver."
When asked about Cromartie's enthusiasm on offense, Ryan couldn't help delivering a well-timed joke: "We'll see how excited he is when he gets smacked by a safety."
Rex hopes Coples is the next JPP
Clearly miffed by the knocks on his No. 1 draft pick, Ryan went on the defensive about defensive end Quinton Coples. "Go back and read all the things the experts said," he began. "The difference is the experts watch the tape. We knew what we were getting."
Coples, who was hounded by questions about his motor before he was selected 16th overall, had 10 sacks in his junior year and 71/2 sacks in his senior year at North Carolina. South Florida's Pierre-Paul, who was selected 15th overall by the Giants in 2010, finished fourth in the NFL in sacks last season with 161/2.
"These guys are unusual guys," Ryan said, "and hopefully Quinton can be the same kind of player Pierre-Paul ended up being."
Holmes (rib), WR Jeremy Kerley (hamstring), NT Sione Pouha (forehead, back), S Eric Smith (MCL sprain) and T Dennis Landolt (knee) will not play against the Giants. It's unclear whether WR Chaz Schilens (ankle) will play . . . When jokingly asked if outspoken third-string QB Greg McElroy was available for comment on the secretive plans for the Wildcat, Mark Sanchez quipped: "We'll get a couple of clips on him and attach him to a car battery, and rev that thing if he gets squirrelly."