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Cro's No. 2? Jets WRs, Coaches Weigh In

Posted Aug 1, 2012

By now mostly everyone around Jets Nation has heard Antonio Cromartie’s comments delivered on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday stating he believes he is the Jets’ second-best wide receiver. 

Head coach Rex Ryan was asked about the comments at his midday news conference today and his response was direct.

“I’m aware of what was said,” Ryan said. “I’m on top of it. It will not be a problem.”

There were high hopes last season for the Green & White. Those expectations weren’t met partly due to distractions inside the locker room. Heading into this season, Ryan has repeated that he will have everyone on the same page.

Cromartie is entering his seventh season as a cornerback. Yet as the team continues transitioning into a new offense, Cromartie, along with the Jet coaching staff, feels he can play a role at wide receiver and perhaps continue to return an occasional kickoff while still playing his natural position on defense.

“I don’t get into the depth chart things or anything like that,” offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said after today's practice. “I said this before: I’m pleased that Cro feels like he could help. I’ve had to play against the guy. I know his ball skills and I know he can run and I know all those things.

“He’s a pretty confident player and he’s got some swagger. Players with swagger, we’ll put them out in the huddle if necessary.”

While Sparano didn’t seem bothered by Cromartie’s comments, first-year Jets WR Chaz Schilens felt the opposite.

“Everyone knows that Cro is unbelievably athletically gifted and very fast. He's a great athlete,” Schilens said. “But I’ve played with a lot of fast receivers and playing receiver is more than about just being fast. I’ll leave it at that.”

Schilens, who joined the Jets in March after having spent his first four professional seasons with the Oakland Raiders, said he initially thought the comments were a joke but also acknowledged he felt slighted.

“I’ll let him think whatever he wants,” Schilens said. “I think he thinks receiver is a little different that what it actually is. He’s unbelievably talented and he plays cornerback, so I don’t know.”

Fellow wide receiver Stephen Hill took another approach regarding the subject.

“Right now I always feel like I’m the best receiver on the team,” the second-round rookie said. “Of course Santonio [Holmes] is the veteran, but as a wide receiver you always want to be the best and that’s how I feel.”

Holmes is the most experienced wideout on the squad. The MVP of Super Bowl XLIII, now entering his seventh NFL season, has totaled 336 receptions and 34 touchdowns. Behind him, Schilens has produced 72 receptions and seven touchdowns, second-year receiver Jeremy Kerley 29 receptions and one TD, and 6’5’, 220-pounder Patrick Turner 10 receptions and one TD.

Schilens said he doesn’t plan to approach Cromartie about his remarks, saying that the comments would be addressed on the football field.

Cromartie declined to speak with reporters following practice.
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