Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon had back-to-back 200-plus yard receiving games a few weeks ago. Credit: Getty Images
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes put a charge in the Panthers secondary last week when he called them the “weakest link” on their defense. But the Jets might have their own bulletin board material this weekend via the mouth of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon.
Speaking to the media in a Wednesday conference call, Gordon wouldn't mouth off quite as succinctly as Holmes a week ago, but his message was clear: The Jets backend is ready to be exploited. Gordon called out cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who has had a down season after making the Pro Bowl last year.
Cromartie will likely get the responsibility to cover Gordon, who has had a touchdown in five straight games for the Browns.
“I guess he’s kind of hanging off a lot of players this year. He’s not really giving too much in the press, like he used to be. But, I’m not really sure how he’ll play me,” Gordon said. “He’s been in the league a long time. He’s just one of those veteran guys trying to keep on playing the game, but he’s a great competitor. He’s really good. I’ve got the utmost respect for a guy like him and I know I’m going to have to play my A game because I know he will.”
In the Panthers game, Holmes was targeted eight times but had just two catches for 14 yards. After every ball that came remotely near him, the Carolina secondary gave him an earful.
There is no denying that despite one of the league's best pass rushes, the Jets have struggled to shut down their opponents in the air.
The Jets are No. 26 in the league in pass defense and have given up 15 plays of 40 yards or greater, tied for third in the league. That is welcome news for Gordon, who hasn't had a game without a play of less than 40 yards since Nov. 3.
Gordon can't — or won't — say why the Jets secondary has struggled. But with a rookie cornerback in Dee Milliner who has disappointed, along with the loss of the team's top three safeties and perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, perhaps it was to be expected that the Jets would have issues in the secondary.
Gordon praised the Jets defensive front, without saying much good about the Jets' pass defense.
“I can’t really say [why they have struggled]. I guess on one half of the field, you have a rookie over there. Guys are probably just trying to bomb on him every chance they can get, that might have a lot to do with it, more so than Cromartie’s side,” Gordon said. “Either way, maybe they’re just not there yet, but they’re a great defense all together. That defensive line makes up for a lot of lack in any other area they have.”