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Cromartie has complained about the Chargers playing too much zone

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As it becomes more clear that Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie, a first-round pick in the 2006 draft and holder of a record that can never be broken, is on the outs in San Diego, many are speculating on the reasons for the team’s current attitude toward him.

Some think it has something to do with his “no touchy” tendencies in the AFC division-round loss to the Jets. Others think it’s rooted in his apparent effort to field a team for competition in the Travis Henry Baseball League. Others believe that Cromartie’s overall play simply has dipped, and that the team prefers using Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason.

Cromartie addressed his situation in San Diego during a Monday night appearance with Bryan McGovern and Jim Miller of Sirius NFL Radio, and Cromartie seemed to suggest that the impasses arises from his concerns regarding the team’s defensive scheme.

“It may be time to move on,” Cromartie said. “I have complained to the coaches about certain stuff, about the way we play, and they know that.”

So what were the specific complaints?

“To me, I felt like we played too much zone,” Cromartie said. “As we would say, we felt like we had two of the best corners in the NFL, me and Jammer, and we played too much zone coverage, rather than man [coverage].”

MIller then asked whether Cromartie is hoping to play in a 3-4 defense that uses press-man coverage.

“I’d just like to play in a defense that’s aggressive, period, to the point of, let us use our strengths and use our abilities,” Cromartie said. “Ever since I came out, my first two years it was like that. We had Coach [Wade] Phillips and Coach [Ted] Cottrell [as defensive coordinators]. My second year, the 2007 and 2006 seasons, that’s exactly how we played. We may have played a cover-4 defense but there was a lot of press-man that depended on us. We let the front seven do their thing and we tried to handle everything in the back end.”

So it looks like Cromartie’s days in San Diego are numbered, even though he also said he’d “love to continue to finish out either my contract or my career in San Diego.” Even if he’s not traded before the 2010 deadline, it’s highly unlikely he’ll stay with the Chargers after his rookie contract expires at the end of the coming season.