One of the NFL’s biggest offseason story lines has been the ongoing war of words and tweets between Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle’s Richard Sherman.
There have been several exchanges between the two, whether they involve contract status, pure statistics, positional semantics or hashtags. I mean who can forget #CoverSpace — that was a classic, Patrick.
Peterson’s new teammate, Antonio Cromartie, joined the set of NFL Total Access on NFL Network Thursday to chime in on the subject of who is the best corner in the league. A giant video board showed the voting results of the network’s poll, with Sherman leading Peterson, New England’s Darrelle Revis and Cleveland’s Joe Haden. Cromartie got out of his chair to check the results, and obviously disagreed with them.
“Where’s my name at,” he asked. “If y’all want to go with just one or two seasons and what everybody’s done, that’s fine and dandy. But go over the longevity of my career and then match it up against all these guys right here.
“Everybody wants to talk about how many picks I got in a season. Well y’all tell me ‘when was the last time somebody had double-digit picks in a season?’ Oh, that’s me.”
Cromartie had 10 interceptions for the San Diego Chargers in 2007 when he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl and was a First Team All-Pro. In his career, Cromartie has 28 interceptions, which is 10th among active players in the league.
“Right now, to me, it’s me and this guy,” Cromartie said, pointing to Revis’ photo. “You got three young guys that are up and coming, but right now, it’s out of me and this guy, when we’re healthy.
“And when we’re healthy, we know what we can do on that football field and we’ve both shown it in a Rex Ryan defense where there is zero help.”
Cromartie and Revis were teammates with Ryan’s New York Jets from 2010 to 2012 and their pass defense ranked in the top six in the NFL each season.
“I want these guys to be on an island by themselves and play Zero coverage,” Cromartie said. “They haven’t done that yet, they haven’t done nothing that me and Revis have done in a Rex Ryan defense.”
Asked specifically about Sherman, Cromartie agreed with a lot of the criticism the Seahawks’ All-Pro gets for only being asked to play one side of the field.
“When you think about the best corner in the game, you think about guys that are matching up one-on-one as Deion Sanders did, actually Mel Blount did the same thing back in the Steelers days,” Cromartie said. “Can a guy adjust to the defense? What Richard has done, he has done that for his defense.
“But also at the same time, you’ve got two All-Pro safeties in the back.”
Cromartie signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals in March following back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons with the Jets in 2012 and 2013. If he backs up the bravado he displayed during his NFL Network appearance, let’s just say the Cardinals defense will be even tougher to throw on in 2014.