The Eagles have a lot invested in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha.
Last year they traded Kevin Kolb, their most valuable trade asset in some time, to get Rodgers-Cromartie. This year they moved Asante Samuel, one of the best cornerbacks in the league at creating turnovers, to make him a starter.
They opened their pockets big time for Nnamdi Asomugha, and paid him like the top corner back in the game he was supposed to be.
Now it is time to Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha to show the Eagles it was all worth it.
It's hard to really grade DRC's play last year, as he saw limited time and when he was on the field, he was out of position. Give him credit for accepting the role that was given to him- a combination of bench player and covering slot receivers. Playing inside did not really suit his skills, and it showed in his play.
While it is understandable to a certain degree for him to struggle in his new role, some plays by Rodgers-Cromartie were just inexcusable. He was 3rd on the team in missed tackles with 7, behind only Nnamdi Asomugha (12) and Samuel (8). He was on the field for roughly half the time that Asomugha and Samuel were though, making that number even more alarming. Quarterbacks had a rating of close to 90 when they threw his way.
The mental errors- such as DRC's play against Chicago where he thought the ball was dead, and Asomugha's horrible penalties throughout the year- were a constant throughout the season for both players.
The good news for the Eagles is that both players did improve late in the season.
When DRC finally got into a role he was comfortable with- starting- he played very well. He started the last 2 weeks of the season, and by no coincidence, had his best 2 games of the year. Rodgers-Cromartie was targeted 9 times in the 2 games, allowing only 3 catches for a total of 35 yards. The fact that he was only thrown at 9 times in the 90 times he dropped back is even more impressive.
Asomugha also played better at the end of the season, and had one of his best games of the year against Dallas in Week 16.
We will learn a lot about these 2 players this season. Both came into Philadelphia considered some of the best in the game, and both saw their names dragged through the mud last season. After hiding away in Oakland for years, Asomugha was exposed last season. Rodgers-Cromartie was once on the tip of everyone's tongue when talking about the best corner backs in the league. Now he is hardly known by the causal fan.
The Eagles are hoping that the duo can look in the mirror, show some price, improve, and be the players they were supposed to be. Both players will have a year in Philadelphia under their belt and both will be starting. There are no excuses not to perform this season.
If they can play up to the level they were expected to when the Eagles brought them in, it will go a long way in keeping the defense at the level it was the last few weeks of the season.
If he doesn't? The Eagles can expect the blown 4th quarter leads and the losing to continue.
And Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie can expect to fall even further down the list of top NFL corner backs.
Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks