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An interesting story today on Antonio Cromartie, courtesy of Bob Glauber of Newsday. Cromartie says that after Revis was injured, the All-Pro cornerback told Cromartie that he needed to start taking his job more seriously and that it was time for him to reach his potential. Cromartie stated: “Hearing it from your peers, you take more out of that than hearing it from your coach…. Your peers expect so much out of you and expect you to play at a higher level, especially when he’s one of the best corners in the league.”

I’ve been very impressed with Cromartie this season, and Pro Football Focus’ numbers back in up. PFF’s subscriber content ranks Cromartie fourth in pass coverage among cornerbacks this season, behind only Charles Tillman, Casey Hayward, and Richard Sherman. He’s playing as well as I’ve seen him since he’s been a Jet, and he’s changed his demeanor off the field, too.

Your reaction to Cromartie’s comments is essentially a Rorschach test of your views on life. Whether you find it disappointing that this is what it took for the light to go on (and who knows when the bulb will need to be replaced) or inspiring that he was able to elevate his play is left to the reader.

Cromartie realized he had to take on more of a leadership role, and admitted that his level of play leading up to this season wasn’t as proficient as it should have been. It was a startling admission from a player who rarely suffers from a lack of self assurance, yet it was a moment that signaled a major turnaround. Cromartie is indeed playing his best football, and now laments that he didn’t take his craft more seriously before.

“It shouldn’t have taken for Revis to go down for me to be playing at a very high level,” he said. “There’s something I think I took for granted having Revis on the other side and not being able to play at a high level when he was here.”

“I think the biggest thing that’s changed for me is the leadership role,” Cromartie said. “Just making sure everyone was on top of everything, helping guys study film and knowing how to study film. I think I just took on a role that once [Revis] left, and I wanted to make sure I played at a higher level every single week.”

  • Danish

    Put me in the disappointed pile.

  • Shattenjager

    So, what does the Rorschach test say about me that my thought was that he’s probably convinced himself of this because he’s playing better now rather than the other way around? Well, other than the fact that I’m a pain in the neck who rejects dichotomies as often as possible.

    I suspect that there’s actually something about Rex Ryan’s system that helps the play, both by the eye test and according to all advanced statistics, of the top corner. It seems to me that it’s been the case in the past that Cromartie plays much better when he’s the top corner for the Jets (though those have been small samples in the past) than he does when Revis is out there, and I find it difficult to believe that it’s really that he suddenly decides to “take it seriously” at that point. It’s even weirder to think that he didn’t take it seriously until Revis told him to. I don’t believe for a second it’s the first time someone (even a peer) has told him that, which makes it nearly impossible to believe that it suddenly affected him.

    He’s playing well, so people (Cromartie himself included) look for explanations and, since there isn’t an easily verifiable and identifiable physical reason, people turn to explanations that really cannot be verified or refuted.

    • Chase Stuart

      I support everything you just wrote.

  • Ben

    When you expect more of people they sometimes gain confidence and/or when you give people responsibility they feel a duty to fulfill it.