Gang Green took on Josh Gordon and the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday, closing out the last home game of the season with a win. In the win, the Jets got to see their 2013 first round draft pick in action against the NFL's leading receiver in Josh Gordon.
Dee Milliner got the toughest assignment any corner can get in covering Gordon. With size, speed, and the ability to make the big play, Cleveland's No. 12 can do it all. But when the rookie corner got the news that he will be covering the Brown's top receiver, he took it in stride.
"Coach just came to me and told me I was going to be on him," said Milliner. "When he told me, I do whatever my coaches tell me so I just watched a lot of film, worked hard in practice, (and the scout team showed the same plays) that they ran in the game."
The first year cornerback has struggled for most of the season; having been benched multiple times throughout the year. Despite the struggles, Milliner had his best performance of his young career. As well as totaling a team-high nine tackles and five passes defended on the day, the rookie intercepted his first pass of his career. After having his best performance wearing Green and White, the first year Jet acknowledged the season long struggles.
"It's been (an) up and down (year)," admitted Milliner. "I just try to go out there and try to get better each week. Just try to help my team as much as I can."
With his struggles far from being a secret, Cleveland threw in Milliner's direction for most of the game in hopes of capitalizing on the rookie's rollercoaster rookie campaign. His up and down play has cost him playing time over the course of the year, but it has not cost him the support from his coaches and teammates.
"We knew that was going to happen," said the corner in response to being targeted Sunday afternoon. "I just tried to keep my composure. My teammates and the coaches stayed on me. I tried to go out there and do what I do."
With the toughest assignment of marking up Gordon, the rookie rose to the occasion and proved that he can compete in this league. Great players shine when their team needs them the most and with a team playing for their coach's job, Milliner stood out. If he continues his high play next week, he will have great confidence heading into his second year.