New Jets CB Patterson talking big game

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The signing of cornerback Dimitri Patterson back in April didn't exactly set the New York Jets' fan base on fire.

Brought in to compete for the starting job vacated by Antonio Cromartie, Patterson has started just 20 games in nine NFL seasons and played for six different teams prior to the Jets.

But the soon-to-be 31-year-old is certainly not lacking in confidence.

"I've been asked to do what Cromartie was asked to do," Patterson said Wednesday. "Do I have a high profile? No. Do I have the biggest name? No. But I've covered the same receivers, and I've held up extremely well against the same receivers, the elite guys.

"I don't have a high-profile name, but I'll put my film [up] with anybody's. That's the reality of the situation."

Jets coach Rex Ryan had Patterson working with the first unit during Wednesday's OTAs. Fellow corner Dee Milliner, who started 12 games as a rookie last year, sat out the practice with a tight left hamstring. Darrin Walls was also absent, because of a personal issue. Ras-I Dowling, who was on the practice squad last season, played opposite Patterson.

Ryan praised Patterson afterward, with the caveat that these OTAs are non-contact practices.

"It's kind of tough -- with the way the rules are, you're not allowed to press, so it's a challenge," Ryan said. "But he's done well. I think he's on top of his assignments. He's been pretty impressive."

An undrafted free agent out of Division II Tuskegee, Patterson began his NFL career with the Washington Redskins, for whom he played three games in 2005.

He didn't get his first start until 2009, with the Philadelphia Eagles, but ended up starting a career-high nine games that season and had four interceptions.

Patterson spent the past two years with the division rival Miami Dolphins but played in only eight games combined, due to ankle and groin injuries. Still, he had four interceptions last season in just six games (four starts).

"The reality is, that's the only thing they can find negative to say about me," Patterson said, speaking of his recent injuries. "When you look at my career, I've been in [the league] nine years -- the last two years I had an ankle and I had a groin. My first six, seven years, I had no injuries."

Perhaps Patterson, now healthy again, is just coming into his prime? He likes playing under Ryan, in Ryan's system, thus far.

"The requirements and what's asked of a corner here is kind of similar to what was asked of me in Miami," Patterson said. "You gotta win on the perimeter, simple as that. It's been a good adjustment. I feel like it's a good situation for me, the scheme fits me, and I'm excited about it."

The Jets' secondary will look different this year, with first-round pick Calvin Pryor possibly starting at safety, and Patterson likely replacing Cromartie at cornerback. Not exactly household names -- at least, not yet.

"Do I think we have guys to go out here and be extremely competitive? No doubt about it," Patterson said. "But we don't truly know that until you get under the lights."