Antonio Allen wasn’t as sharp on Tuesday as his first day as a cornerback, but he says he’s more than ready to take up the role full time.
“All the [critics] telling me I can’t play man [coverage], I can’t cover tight ends and all that kind of stuff,” Allen said, “[I’m] just proving them wrong, man. I work at my craft and being who I am.”
Allen will have a stiff test in the Jets’ second preseason game (Aug. 16, 7 p.m., CBS2) as he matches up with Bengals’ three-time Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Green.
“Well, if he can cover that kid, he can cover them all,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “That guy is about as good as it gets.”
Ryan said Allen was excited to be given a chance to play cornerback with Dee Milliner on the shelf with an ankle injury and rookie Dexter McDougle done for the season after tearing his ACL.
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“He just looked at me, like he always does, with a smile and goes, 'Yeah, OK coach,'” Ryan said. “I think he knows that if you believe he can do it, then he can do it. I think myself, [defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman], [general manager] John [Idzik], everybody, all his teammates have faith in him, that you know what, when we give him a job to do, he’s going to get it done.”
Allen actually played a hybrid linebacker position in college at South Carolina, but transitioned to safety in the pros. Ryan said Allen will start in the game against Cincinnati, but won't see extended playing time.
“I think pretty much, starters go a half in this [game] coming up,” Ryan said. “So I don’t think, we’re not going to stretch him anymore than that.”
Allen did struggle a little more on Tuesday, his second day playing on the outside, versus Monday's first session. He gave up one long touchdown to wideout Stephen Hill during the practice session.
Ryan wouldn't get into specifics on the injury to Milliner, who it has been reported suffered a high ankle sprain in practice over the weekend. The cornerback has yet to undergo an MRI due to swelling.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.