The self-proclaimed second-best wide receiver on the Jets played only cornerback on Wednesday when the team returned to the practice field. Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who has taken some snaps during training camp at wide receiver, took a swipe at the team’s targets while talking with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Tuesday.
When asked about the team’s receivering corps during a live interview on ESPN’s First Take, Cromartie said, "I think I'd put myself as second" on the depth chart at the position. Last year, Cromartie did take some snaps at receiver as a wrinkle in the offense in what amounted to a short-lived and unsuccessful experiment. That didn’t stop Cromartie from saying, “I can put myself as the second just with raw ability and talent.”
The receivers responded on Wednesday, with Chaz Schilens clearly not pleased.
“I kind of thought it was a joke, but I guess he said it and that’s how he feels,” Schilens said. “It’s my job to fix that situation. We’ll see, we’ll see what goes on in practice, but he’s entitled to his opinion.”
Cromartie dissected each receiver’s strength and relative weakness, adding, “I can run every single route in the route tree.” The former first-round pick out of Florida State has never made a catch in the NFL.
“He's a pretty confident player; he's got some swagger," offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said.
The Jets' group of receivers is young and mostly unproven. After former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, it is the fifth-year Schilens with a career-high 29 catches in 2009 who is the team’s No. 2 receiver. After that comes second-year target Jeremy Kerley, the little-used Patrick Turner and then rookie Stephen Hill to round out the receivers.
A source told Metro that Cromartie did not address the situation with the wide receivers on Wednesday before practice. He did not line up at receiver on Wednesday.
“I didn’t address it with him. ‘Cro’ is ‘Cro’ and I’m myself. Whatever we think about it, I guess we’ll see I guess,” Hill said. “I wouldn’t be upset or anything. I’m trying to be Stephen Hill and stay my place.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from camp in Cortland.