Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson, who needs 76 receiving yards Monday against the Jets to reach 10,000 for his career, has enjoyed only one 100-yard performance against the Jets way back in 2004. That would be pre-Darrelle Revis.
No one has shut down Johnson as consistently as Revis, but since he’s out with a season-ending knee injury, the task of defending Johnson falls to Antonio Cromartie. “I love it,” Cromartie said after Friday’s practice. “Playing against bigger receivers matches up very well for me. I can use my length. I’m looking forward to it.
“This my third time playing Texas in my career, but I’ve never faced up against Andre. This is my first time, so, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Johnson goes 6-3 and 230 pounds, and Cromartie is listed at 6-2 and 210. So, that’s two big bodies that might be banging in mid-air for quarterback Matt Schaub’s passes. “You can tell he knows how to use his body,” Cromartie said of Johnson. “He protects the ball with his body, catches it out of the air with his hands, and he can get down the field and stretch the field as big as he is.”
The Texans run the ball more than any team in the league, but that only serves to set up the play-action passing game that often frees Johnson. “When they go play-action, they’re getting the ball down the field,” Cromartie noted. “They know how to get the ball to him, they know how to pick when they want to get him the ball and try to get him the ball across the middle. The biggest thing is making sure we maintain our focus.”
Cromartie said the only time he has talked to Revis about defending Johnson was in 2010, but he’s spent the week studying tape of how Revis shut Johnson down in their previous meetings.
Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said of Cromartie, "This is a real big week for him. He's going to be one-on-one a good percent of the time."