FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — While Antonio Cromartie might not exactly be a favorite around New England, he got some praise today from special teams coach Mike Westhoff for asking into last weekend’s game against the Colts — or at least offering to help.
That led to the 47-yard kickoff return by Cromartie that set up the game-winning field goal by Nick Folk.
“Cro does a great job in our practices helping us, but to be honest with you he really wasn’t on our kickoff return depth chart,” Westhoff said. “He’s really not. No, it was Brad [Smith]. To me, it’s Brad, Brad, and then Brad.
“During the week, Cromartie came looking for me in my office, and he saw [special teams coordinator] Ben Kotwica and he told Ben, he said, ‘Give Mike a message. Tell him that in this game, in the playoffs, if he needs me anywhere, I’ll cover a punt, I’ll be on the kickoff team, I’ll play in the vice.’ He said, ‘Anything he needs, tell him don’t look for anybody else.’ And that’s exactly what I remembered when I had to make a decision. And he’s the only guy I was going to.”
Cromartie appears likely to fill in for Smith if the Jets’ normal kick returner isn’t “100 percent or close to it,” as coach Rex Ryan put it.