BY NICK ST. DENIS
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady echoes what pretty much every other quarterback, receiver and coach has said about going up against the New York Jets' defense without All-World cornerback Darrelle Revis: They're still pretty good in the secondary.
"He's a great player – one of the best I've ever gone against," Brady told reporters Wednesday of the injured Revis. "At the same time, I think they've moved on from that situation and played really well last week against Indianapolis without him.
". . . [Antonio] Cromartie is a heck of a player in his own right and he's had a great season, so he's really assumed the role of matching to the opponent's No. 1 receiver – or perceived No. 1 receiver. They seem like they're still doing what they've always done and playing very well."
Brady is right. Cromartie has been stellar in taking over Revis' No. 1 cornerback job, shutting down Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans and keeping Reggie Wayne of the Indianpolis Colts in check in consecutive weeks.
Aside from Cromartie, hard-hitters Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, while maybe overly aggressive at times, have been more than serviceable in the defensive backfield at safety, which has been critical in making up for the shortcomings of now No. 2 cornerback Kyle Wilson.
"They're well coached defensively, they have good players," Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the media Wednesday. "They always give you different matchups. It's hard to tell exactly what you're going to get. They've used different combinations back there and done different things with, whether it be [Eric] Smith, Landry, [Josh] Bush, Bell, whoever it happens to be.
"I'd include (linebackers) [Bart] Scott and [David] Harris in that group too. We have to be prepared for all of it but they're all good players."
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