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Buster Skrine drawing rave reviews from Jets teammates

New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (41) runs

New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (41) runs drills against cornerback Marcus Williams (20) at the Jets' Atlantic Health Training Center on Monday, August 10, 2015 in Florham Park, N.J. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

His teammates often mispronounce his last name. But his nickname brings a smile to everyone in the Jets' locker room.

"Oh, I love Buster, man," Brandon Marshall said, his eyes lighting up as he talked about cornerback Buster Skrine. "He's a stud."

Skrine's arrival as a free agent in March was overshadowed by the long-awaited return of Darrelle Revis. But the 5-9, 185- pound Skrine made his presence felt during training camp, using his quick feet and aggressive style to give receivers fits.

"Buster, he's awesome," Revis said on the last day of training camp. " . . . I mean, he's probably the best corner we have with the best footwork and change of speed, change of direction."

Around the same time, receiver Eric Decker said: "We love going against him because it's a whole different dynamic. The guy goes 100 percent every single play. It's unbelievable, just the tenacity he has. He's going to make a difference for us.''

And now Skrine is punishing opposing receivers on game day.

On Monday night, Skrine's nickel blitz helped set up Calvin Pryor's first career interception during the first quarter of the Jets' 20-7 win over the Colts.

"I saw the shot clock going down, so I knew he had to hike it soon," Skrine said of the play, which was the first of five total take-aways for the Jets' defense that night. "And I came free and really disrupted him a little bit and Calvin got the pick."

"I told you all, pound for pound, [Buster's] the strongest guy on the team," defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said Thursday. "He works hard. When Buster's in the game, we don't really worry about him. From our standpoint, this guy is a starter in every aspect. There is nothing we don't mind asking him to do. He works hard, he's tough, he's a professional. We love the guy."

Skrine could have the job of stopping any number of Eagles pass-catchers but most likely will be matched with second-year receiver Jordan Matthews (6-3, 212 pounds), who, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, has run 79 of his 81 routes out of the slot.

Skrine's versatility and his role as the Jets' nickel corner is "huge," outside linebacker Calvin Pace said. "Outside of your No. 1 receiver, slot receivers are big in this league. So you need that third corner who can go in there and not be a drop-off from your [No.] 1 and 2 guys. So Buster's been a huge addition for us. Outside of covering, he's strong in the run game, he comes up and hits and makes sure tackles. He's been a big addition for us."

In March, first-year general manager Mike Maccagnan signed Skrine, a former Brown, to a four-year, $25-million deal that includes $13 million guaranteed. Since his arrival, his teammates and coaches have raved about him -- even though they often have trouble pronouncing Darryl Frank Skrine Jr.'s last name correctly.

"It's been like that my whole life," he said during a one-on-one interview last month. "People are always like, 'Skrine! Skrine! Skrine!' But it's 'Screen' -- like 'screen pass.' "

However you say his name, the praise for Skrine has been consistent. And now that the regular season is here, his teammates can't help but smile when his name comes up.

"I love practicing against him . . . He makes everyone around him better," Marshall said. "He only knows one speed. He's what you call a football player. There's wide receivers, there's cornerbacks, there's quarterbacks, then there's football players: guys you can just put on the football field and they're going to make the play. And that's him."

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