The Jets' Antonio Cromartie is forced out of bounds by...

The Jets' Antonio Cromartie is forced out of bounds by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, right, after intercepting him in the second quarter. (Sept. 13, 2010) Credit: David Pokress

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Antonio Cromartie was like a boxer in a sparring session Thursday, working up a serious lather as he prepares for what could be a heavyweight bout Sunday night.

"Antonio Cromartie broke that all-time Florham Park record today," Rex Ryan said. "I think he had 10 interceptions out there today. It was crazy . . . It was unbelievable. He looked outstanding."

With Brandon Marshall licking his chops, he'd better be.

Darrelle Revis already has been ruled out of their AFC East showdown against the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium, so Cromartie will get the unenviable task of defending one of the NFL's most dangerous receivers - the 6-4, 230-pound Marshall, who will make his regular-season home debut in front of his new fans.

"Two great athletes going against each other, two huge guys for their positions," Ryan said. "I mean, they are giants for their positions. I saw Marshall at the Pro Bowl. I couldn't believe how big he was. He's one of those guys that when you look at him, you're like, 'Man, how do you cover this dude?' That's what I was thinking. He's huge.

"Then you look at Cromartie, and it's the same thing. Corners aren't supposed to look like that. He's got great lean, great speed, great everything. It ought to be a great matchup."

The 6-2, 210-pound Cromartie is familiar with Marshall from their AFC West days, when the cornerback was with the Chargers and Marshall suited up for the Broncos.

One game really stands out. During Week 2 in 2008, Marshall had 18 receptions - setting a franchise record and tying for second-most in NFL history - for 166 yards and a touchdown against San Diego.

Cromartie said he covered Marshall on only 12 to 14 occasions that day because he stayed on his right side while the Broncos moved Marshall all over the field. "He killed our secondary, but on the times that I actually covered him, he only had four catches," said Cromartie, who has two interceptions this season. "That's his biggest game against me. So I don't pay attention or care what somebody says about 18 catches."

Cromartie got flagged for four penalties in that game, though, and yielded a 6-yard touchdown while covering Marshall.

"It's tough from a physical standpoint," Cromartie said. "He's a big receiver that can get in and out of his routes real good as a smart receiver. You just have to be patient and play disciplined."

LaDainian Tomlinson, a former Charger himself, witnessed Marshall's exploits first-hand and thinks Cromartie will flourish this time around.

"For one, this is a different type of defense than we played in San Diego," he said. "San Diego is a little more soft in coverage; we are a little bit more aggressive here. So that will play to Cromartie's strength. He likes to be aggressive, so if they want to throw toward him, I expect him to get one or two picks and have a really good day."

Just as he did yesterday, albeit against his own teammates.

"Looking at the way he practiced," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said, "I can tell he can't wait until Sunday."

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