Publicly, football coaches don’t like it when their players get too physical at practice. Privately, they love it.
Under that standard, Jets coach Rex Ryan loves cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
Cromartie, the No. 1 corner post-Revis, continues to mix it up at practice. Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Cromartie applied a high hit to receiver Stephen Hill during practice on Wednesday. (It possibly was helmet-to-helmet, possibly forearm-to-helmet.)
Hill was on the ground grabbing his head, but he then got up. Center Nick Mangold confronted Cromartie after the play.
Said Cromartie in response: “Don’t cry! Play ball!”
It’s the third time this year Cromartie has caused some consternation at practice. Last month, Cromartie sparked a mini-fracas with receiver Vidal Hazelton during one-on-one drills. During offseason workouts, Cromartie ended up jawing with receiver Santonio Holmes after Cromartie got too physical (in Holmes’ assessment) with quarterback Mark Sanchez.
At a time when the Jets could be a team that gets pushed around this year, it’s good that Cromartie is willing to push back. And it’s good that he is prompting teammates to push back, too.