Cromartie Leads League With Six Picks

There is a new league leader in town, and his name is Antonio Cromartie. Six interceptions on the years puts Cromartie on top of the list among ballhawks. Cromartie was dominant in his first career start Sunday night; three interceptions and four credited passes defended is impressive enough, even without mentioning the Chargers were playing against Peyton Manning and the Colts.

"I was going up against the best quarterback in the NFL, Peyton Manning. For me to pick off three passes is a great accomplishment. But I feel like now I just have to keep my stride going, keep my confidence going, and be consistent throughout the rest of the season."

Starting in place of an injured Quentin Jammer, Cromartie and the Chargers defense probably expected Peyton Manning to test the coverage against Reggie Wayne. Little did Manning know, Cromartie is the most athletic, and more importantly opportunistic, defensive back on the Chargers roster:

"With it being my first start, I think he was trying to come after me. I was just trying to hold my own and have fun."

"With Jammer being down, it was my opportunity to come out and play football like I'm supposed to and get in a comfort zone."

All game long the Colts tested Cromartie. They knew he would need to be handled if they were going to have success. Cromartie was double-teamed on kick converage which freed up other players like Kassim Osgood. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne went deep on a number of occasions to try and draw interference flags against Cromartie.

All of these tactics were only partially successful, and its a speaks volumes to Cromartie's poise and confidence that he kept his head in the game and remained focused for six minutes.

At this point if Cromartie hasn't earned a starting job then what more does he have to prove? When he was coming out of college I compared him to Shawne Merriman. I felt that Cromartie could bring playmaking ability to the secondary in a similar way that Shawne Merriman brought playmaking to the linebackers.

Quentin Jammer has a job waiting for him once healthy, but certainly the Coaches should entertain the idea of going with Cromartie as the opposite starter.

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November 12, 2007

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