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Covering Nelson likely to challenge Allen

Before Week 1, Antonio Allen had only played 48 snaps at cornerback. Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Ninety-nine.

That’s how many snaps New York Jets converted safety Antonio Allen has played at cornerback so far in his NFL career. Forty-eight in the preseason. Then 51 more snaps in Week 1. That’s it.

Asked Friday what the toughest challenge is in making the switch from safety to corner, Allen replied, “Just being in man a lot. Just being in man coverage.”

Allen isn’t used to going one-on-one against speedy wide receivers. He did just fine against the Oakland Raiders, allowing four receptions on six targets, according to ProFootballFocus. Granted, none of those were big plays.

That could change Sunday, however. You see, Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson is one of the best wideouts in the NFL. The Packers star caught a career-high 85 passes last season for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns. He has developed quite a rapport with his quarterback, All-Pro Aaron Rodgers.

Bottom line: They’re a tough tandem to contain. “He’ll lose you,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said of Nelson.

But, entering just his second start at cornerback, Allen looks forward to the challenge. “He’s good and athletic,” Allen said of Nelson. “Him and the QB have a connection. I’m just gonna try to hold my own against him and make plays on the ball when I can.”

Nelson is as good a route-runner as there is in the league. Allen is known for his physical style of play and tackling skills, attributes that made him a solid safety. The Packers figure to try to exploit this matchup. On paper, Allen is definitely an underdog. He was targeted 14 times in Week 1 against Seattle, snagging nine passes for 83 yards.

  • Ryan opened his news conference Friday by showing the media a couple clips of his son, Seth, playing at Clemson. Ryan normally shows Jets’ film to reporters, so it was certainly an unexpected surprise that brought out plenty of laughs.

  • Ryan said the reason the Jets elected to waive Leon McFadden in favor of re-signing Ellis Lankster was that they wanted a special-teams presence this week.

  • Ryan thinks Rodgers’ biggest advantage playing at home is his cadence. The Packers run a no-huddle offense, and Rodgers is arguably the best in the NFL at recognizing defenses and coverages and then calling audibles if necessary. “He actually calls his plays,” Ryan said. “So I think you see the coach calling the first play, but then [Rodgers] is actually running it. They want to snap the ball quick and put the game into his hands.”

  • Ryan’s best quote came when he was asked if his team’s front seven could take advantage of Green Bay’s somewhat banged-up offensive line. “The Packers are pretty good. I’ll see this, our front seven is pretty good and we don’t care who we play. It can be anybody. You can have Jerry Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston, Jim Ringo and Forrest Gregg and Skoron [Bob Skoronski] out there if you like, but we’re going to play. our guys are going to show up and we don’t care who’s out there.”