With Antonio Cromartie dealing with the effects of a concussion from last weekend’s game against the Raiders, the question becomes who will start opposite Dee Milliner should Cromartie be unable to play. On Wednesday, Metro New York‘s Kristian Dyer writes that Ellis Lankster took the first team reps in Cromartie’s stead.
Rex Ryan told reporters that it would be between Darrin Walls and Lankster, but it was Lankster who took the first team reps and later told Dyer splitting reps was not brought to him “not as of right now.”
According to Dyer, Lankster is more than up for the challenge of taking on Cam Newton and specifically Steve Smith.
If Lankster gets the nod from the coaching staff, he will likely have the challenge of going up against Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. The 34-year-old Smith, a five-time Pro Bowler, is putting up some big numbers for the Panthers as he leads the team with 60 receptions for 681 receiving yards.
Primarily a role player, Lankster sounded a bit brazen in his readiness for this Sunday.
“Steve Smith? It will be great, I’m ready,” Lankster told Metro. “They’re finally giving me a chance if ‘Cro’ can’t go. I’m ready.
“I already know how Steve Smith is and I’ve got attitude about me too. [He is a] good route runner, quick hands, aggressive. … He’s legit.”
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comSteve Smith is going to be one heck of an assignment for whomever gets him, but we would almost guarantee that the Jets would do their best to keep Dee Milliner off Smith. Smith might be small, but he is so fast and elusive his ability to create separation is incredible. Smith is also one of the more physical players and will routinely bowl over defensive backs if he can get even a little head of steam.
While the Panthers offense has focused more on the short passing game this season what complicates matters further is Newton’s ability to evade rushers and launch deep passes. Even when plays break down, Newton’s arm strength and accuracy with the deep ball combine well with Smith’s ability to get behind the defense.
Walls and Lankster in particular both have the right temperament to take on a player like Steve Smith. Smith is going to get his yards, but those aren’t the type of guys to lose their cool over issues. For Lankster, he is going to have to know what his back-end coverage looks like and avoid any miscommunications to get the most effectve help as possible.