PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles laterals the ball while being tackled by Graham Gano #4 of the Washington Redskins following a blocked field goal attempt during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
When the Eagles traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last season, the prospect of pairing the young Pro Bowl corner with the two Pro Bowl vets Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel had Eagles fans giddy. Problem was, unlike in Madden, you can't just stick a guy anywhere and expect him to perform the same. The Eagles put DRC in the slot and he looked nothing like the emerging star he was in Arizona.
However, this season the Eagles shipped out Asante Samuel and ensconced DRC as a starter on the outside. So far in camp, he's drawn raves from both observers and teammates.
"He’s in his element," Jason Avant told Jonathan Tamari. "If you take a fish and put him on land, it doesn’t work well. He's an outside guy and hes always been fast. He’s so accustomed to being out there he can see the quarterback better."
While is his speed and athleticism has been what's impressed everyone, DRC says that his focus this offseason has been refining the small things in his game, specifically the eyes.
"Basically just the discipline with my eyes. I tend to look in the backfield a lot. I'm basically working on my eyes this year."
The ability to know what the QB is doing without staring at him is a big part of what made Asante Samuel so effective. So the fact that DRC, who is already a bit of ballhawk, is focusing on that area is a big positive.
Not many corners in this league can stick with DeSean Jackson one on one, especially if its just a non-contact drill. However, DRC has turned heads with his ability to stay stride for stride. Although, he says, it wasn't that way at first.
"He's got the speed out there right now. I underestimated his speed out there a little bit, and he's a lot faster than I thought he was. At the same time, it's all a competition."