Dee Milliner is well aware of the significance his struggles are having on the Jets, especially in light of the fact that he was drafted shortly after the Jets traded All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. He just doesn't buy the comparisons.
"I know he's a great player, because I looked up to him when I was in college," said Milliner, the ninth overall pick in this year's draft. "But he's his own man, and I'm my own man. So I don't think about replacing something like that. None of my teammates say anything about it. They just say, 'Do what you did that got you here. Just try and play good and go from there.' "
Milliner's struggles have been well documented. He has already been benched three times during games, and is still waiting for his first NFL interception. But for those who want to pronounce Milliner a bust after just 12 games -- sorry, we're not going there -- remember this: Most cornerbacks, even the high-drafted ones, need time to become acclimated at the NFL level.
Milliner knows. He has checked to see how the top cornerbacks in today's game fared as rookies. Very few were dominant early on. One notable exception: Revis, who excelled from Day 1 with the Jets.
"It's going to a new team, you're going to face adversity, you're going to go through things," Milliner said. "You're going to see things you've never seen before. You've just got to continue to work, try to learn something from week to week. Plus you're going against [receivers] who have years under their belt, so they're going to know more than you know. The idea is to know some tendencies and be alert."
Milliner feels close to turning the corner. He knows an interception would help.
"You want to get picks," he said. "It's sort of like baseball when you come out of a slump. If you get one of those, it's a confidence builder."