Go ahead, the New York Jets cornerback says. He's ready for the challenge.
"I hope I'm a target this game," Cromartie said with a smile. "I want to be a target every game."
Well, he better be careful what he wishes for, especially with the way the New England Patriots' offense is playing. The struggling Jets (2-2) have to figure out how to stop Brady, Wes Welker and the high-scoring Patriots (3-1) on Sunday, and they know it won't be easy -- whether Cromartie is up to the task or not.
"We use the phrase, 'chasing ghosts,' and sometimes you have to do that," Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said Thursday. "You don't really know what their formations are going to be, what their personnel groupings are going to be, and you might work against something all week and not see it, see something totally different. So you have to be very flexible in your approach when you play New England."
The Patriots are No. 1 in the NFL in overall and passing offense. Their running game also is ranked ninth.
The Jets, who rank No. 2 against the pass, aren't revealing their defensive strategy for Sunday's game, but coach Rex Ryan said he's "sure" All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis will match up with Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker at times. Cromartie might be on Welker, too. And who knows who else? It might take a few guys to shut him down.
"It's him and Tom," Revis said of Welker. "They have a 1-2 punch with each other, great chemistry. They work well together. He's got 40 catches already, over 600 yards, so he's Tom's go-to guy. He's always looking for him. He's tough in the slot. He's probably the toughest receiver to cover in the slot."
"To beat the hell out of their receivers, that's our game plan on the outside," Cromartie said. "It's to try to mess up their timing routes as much as we can."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press