FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The headlines went to Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie during the offseason when the two veteran cornerbacks returned to the Jets, but coach Todd Bowles said it felt as if they hit the mother lode of cornerback talent when they added former Cleveland starter Buster Skrine to that free-agent haul.
"You really need three good corners in this league the way the ball is getting thrown around," Bowles said on Friday. "We saw a guy who could play outside and inside. We didn't think we could get all three, but when we saw we could get them, it was a great opportunity for us."
Revis and Cromartie are well-known commodities, but Skrine's package of versatile skills has been a revelation, especially in the Jets' last win over Miami in London. He had four tackles, broke up two passes and helped force Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill into a sub-.500 passing day and two interceptions with repeated blitzes.
Skrine leads all NFL defensive backs with 18 blitzes this season. That effectively makes him part of the Jets' pass rush Sunday against a Washington team that might have the services of wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring), who is questionable but practiced on a limited basis on Friday.
Recalling his game against the Dolphins, Skrine said, "I always give the same look, so quarterbacks really don't see it coming. I could tell Tannehill didn't really know if I was coming or not. I stand in the same spot every play.
"I think it's a challenge for the tackle to have to get down and get me every time. Those guys are 6-5 and I'm 5-9, so I'm ducking under them most of the time."
Jets defensive backs blitzed 22 times against Miami, which is the most of any team in five years, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Safety Marcus Gilchrist said Skrine's impact on the defense is obvious.
"He's a smaller guy, but he's real fast, real quick and he has a lot of attitude," Gilchrist said. "He's probably one of our most physical guys that we have in the secondary. He can cover anybody, lightning fast. I call him 'Sonic,' like he's supersonic."
Skrine doesn't mind being the third wheel at corner because he knows what he adds as a top-flight nickel back. "It's more of a value position than it was before," he said. "Every team is trying to get a good nickel back, and I feel like I'm one of the better ones in the league and will continue to work at it."
Notes & quotes: Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (knee), receiver Chris Owusu (knee) and cornerback Marcus Williams (hamstring) did not participate in practice on Friday and are listed as doubtful. Guard Willie Colon (knee), linebacker David Harris (quadriceps) and running back Bilal Powell (groin), all of whom were limited in practice, are questionable.