New York Jets: Antonio Cromartie Challenges Patriots QB Tom Brady

James StantonContributor IIIOctober 7, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets returns a punt against the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL Season Opening Game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

There's nothing better than some pregame banter between division rivals.  New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, has openly challenged Tom Brady to throw passes his way.  

In fact, he dared Brady. Is this sheer foolishness or a clever ploy on Cromartie's part?

Let's look at both sides of the equation.

Most people would believe it was foolish of Cromartie to do this for three reasons.  First off, Tom Brady does not take open challenges to him or his team lightly.  He may smile about it to the cameras and media, but he takes all of it personally, especially from Jets players.

For a team that is coming off  back-to-back road losses, including the beatdown in Baltimore, the last thing the Jets need is an extra motivated Tom Brady.

Secondly, Cromartie invites all this attention on himself when in fact, he has not played well.  The Raiders game was a standout performance in terms of ineptitude.  Drive-saving penalties for the Raiders' offense and a crucial fumble on a kickoff return did not spell well for him.

Everyone who has watched Cromartie throughout his career knows that although he possesses a lot of talent, he lacks the fundamental skills and football IQ to truly be one of the best corners in the game.  After four seasons of playing time, Cromartie has not shown the necessary improvement.

Thirdly, if not the most obvious reason, every team that plays the Jets regularly throws the ball at him anyway.  So for Cromartie to invite the added pressure on himself just comes off as a dumb move at a critical time for the struggling Jets.

However, there may (and I'm using this term very loosely) be a method to his ploy.  The Jets currently sit at 2-2, good enough for second place in the AFC East.  After their last two games, maybe what the Jets need is one of their players to step up and rally the team.

The loss to the Raiders was bad enough, but the shellacking they took from the Ravens seemed to take the wind out of their sails.  Rex Ryan can only do so much to keep the Jets going.  After all, he doesn't suit up and play on the field.

On Sunday afternoon, everyone will be tuning in to see if Cromartie will be either the hero or his usual role as the goat.