Antonio Cromartie's Big Day Could Pay off Down the Road

Thomas HolmesCorrespondent IIISeptember 18, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18: Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets returns a second quarter interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The 2011 New York Jets are like many teams a work in progress at the moment, but their 32-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars was the kind of game this team needed as a follow-up after a shaky opening week victory against the Dallas Cowboys

Some questions remain from today's game, especially for Nick Mangold and his ankle; however a good number of the teams' performances helped produce more answers rather than questions, especially for Antonio Cromartie

Cromartie's big day with two interceptions comes just one week after a rough start against the Cowboys, in which he gave up two touchdowns in facing both Dez Bryant and then Miles Austin.  

It had to be a bit of a blow to one's ego to lose the initial assignment against Bryant, but even worse to lose the wrestling match with Austin in the end zone on a 36-yard score that set the Jets back ten points to start the second half.  Coupled with Darrelle Revis helping set up the win on an interception, you had to wonder how Cromartie would respond this week.    

Cromartie has had his ups-and-downs since coming over the Jets last year and playing alongside Darrelle Revis has squarely put a target on his back week after week, yet to his credit he keeps coming back for the challenge–even after all of us grew smitten with the prospect of landing Nnamdi Asomugha this past offseason. 

At that point it wouldn't have been surprising if Cromartie packed his bags and left.  Instead though, it's been a motivator for him as he continues to make a name for himself in New York. 

You could argue that two interceptions against journeyman Luke McCown, who threw four in total on the day, is not too much to get excited over, but one could hope that a game like today puts offenses on notice that Cromartie is not a consolation prize primed for the picking opposite Revis Island. 

It could also give Cromartie the confidence to truly return to the form that made the Jets trade for him in the first place, instead of simply getting by on his reputation he earned during the first few years of his career.  

If these pieces can come in to place along with an improved pass rush we saw hints of today, the Jets might have a realistic chance of becoming a legendary defense good enough to help the offense work out the kinks in time to get the Jets to the promised land.