New-Age Iron Men: New Roles for Revis & Cromartie?

Jack BarkerContributor IMarch 6, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Cornerback Antonio Cromartie #31 of the San Diego Chargers defends a pass intended for wide receiver Braylon Edwards #17 of the New York Jets during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

More than once during the NY Jets ' tumultuous ‘09 Season—and while marveling at Darrelle Revis’s beautiful soft touch—I wondered why corner-backs in general, and Revis in particular, were not used occasionally as wide receivers.  I didn’t give this any serious, deep thought, but more of a, “They could have lined up Revis on that play,” kind of thought.

Largely because of Revis, the Jets started and finished the season with the No. 1 passing defense, so we know it wasn't a fluke.  Why then is their first pickup another CB, namely Antonio Cromartie?  What I mean is, where do you go from being No. 1?  Not that he won’t be useful in the defensive secondary, but still...

Earlier today, I read some of the transcript of a telephone interview between Rich Cimini of the NY Daily News and Ted Cottrell, former Jets and Chargers Defensive coordinator.  This portion caught my attention, though no one else seems to have picked up on it.

Ted Cottrell on Cromartie: "He's a tremendous, tremendous athlete. I think he could be one of the top wide receivers, if he wanted to be. He runs so well with the ball in his hands."

Could this be the key to answering my question?  God knows the Jets could use some help at wideout.  It’s not normal to find CBs playing Iron-man football.  So much so that Deion Sanders remains the exceptional standout. 

If Ted Cottrell thinks Cromartie could line up successfully at wideout (and who am I to argue), then I know that Revis could also do it; wonderful hands, good speed, and slippery between tackles. 

Is this what Rex Ryan has in mind for this talented pair?  A shut-down passing defense, plus some additional receiving power?  Can you imagine the damage that could be done with Edwards, Revis, Cromartie, Cotchery, and Keller lined up on passing plays?

Perhaps Brian Schottenheimer convinced Ryan that they need a balanced run/pass attack, and Lord knows, I hope so. 

And don't forget that Mark Sanchez is a very talented QB.  It is my belief that Sanchez hit the “rookie wall” and suffered the “sophomore slump” both in his rookie year as a Jet.  In his final five games—including the loss in the Conference Championship game—Sanchez looked not perfect, but like a young QB that had finally “got it.”

Could 2010 be the year that passing comes back to the NY Jets?