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Antonio Allen cleared for debut at cornerback

The Jets' Antonio Allen (39) speaks with reporters

The Jets' Antonio Allen (39) speaks with reporters during training camp in Cortland, N.Y., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Credit: Hans Pennink

FLORHAM PARK. N.J. - The bright light in the Jets' bleak cornerback situation is this: Antonio Allen has been medically cleared to face the Raiders on Sunday for his first NFL start at corner.

The converted safety delivered the news Tuesday, hours after his first practice without a red, non-contact jersey.

"I'm ready to go and play ball," he said. "I feel pretty good with my preparation. Went out there, had a pretty decent day. I didn't give up any deep balls, just competed well. And hopefully, I can do that in the game."

Allen hadn't addressed the media since suffering a concussion Aug. 22 against the Giants. It was a "friendly fire" hit by a teammate, Allen said, and it sent the Jets scurrying to find more depth at corner.

Their secondary is in flux after the departures of cornerbacks Dimitri Patterson and Ellis Lankster and the recent signings of Leon McFadden and Phillip Adams. Rookie Dexter McDougle was lost for the year after tearing a knee ligament in training camp, and starter Dee Milliner is still rehabbing a high ankle sprain.

Milliner and Kyle Wilson are the only corners on the roster who played at least 400 snaps last season, according to ESPN Stats and Information. But the inexperience doesn't appear to be an issue in the locker room.

"We'll get it done," safety Dawan Landry said. "The new guys that we brought in, they obviously have the ability to play in this league."

Sunday will be the first official test for this makeshift group, and the game is personal for Adams. The fifth-year cornerback spent two seasons in Oakland before joining Seattle this summer. On Thursday, Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr burned him for a 36-yard touchdown. On Saturday, Adams was released.

"He kind of came at me last week," Adams said of Carr, who will start over Matt Schaub after leading four scoring drives against Seattle. "I'm looking forward to the matchup.''

Adams primarily has played in the slot during his career, but he said he can play inside and outside. The Jets hope that's true, because they need him to get up to speed ASAP.

"Hopefully, I won't go out there not knowing any of the terminology," he said. "My goal is to know everything. It's going to be hard. But I'm going to try.''

While he and McFadden study, each of the other defensive backs is preparing not to be the weak link. Former backup Darrin Walls, whose reps increased recently, said he understands the doubts of outsiders.

" 'Double A' [Antonio Allen] hasn't taken any snaps at corner in a real game,'' Walls said. "I started three games. So people can look at it and say, 'Yeah, these guys are inexperienced.' But I have confidence and I have confidence in our coaching staff. They're not going to put us out there in situations we can't handle."

Landry shrugged when asked about the naysayers. "No panic at all for us," he said.

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