After making some mistakes during a Week 9 loss to Chicago that he described as "not acceptable," Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie noted Thursday that his appreciation for nickel cornerbacks has grown.
"Yes. I have a lot of respect for those guys because it's not an easy job," said Rodgers-Cromartie. "You have a guy that comes out who is usually a short, faster, swifter guy who has to in-and-out break on you and it's hard to tell which way they're going to go. If you have a quarterback that can make the throw, it's very hard. They have a lot of respect from me."
Rodgers-Cromartie is being asked to play nickel cornerback with Philadelphia, a new position for him after playing outside cornerback in Arizona. Head coach Andy Reid acknowledged Tuesday the amount of effort Rodgers-Cromartie has put in to make the change work, but the team has nonetheless given Joselio Hanson some snaps at the position. Still, the Eagles seem committed to sticking with Rodgers-Cromartie.
"Obviously, we've used Jose a bit in there too, and then on the other hand, with Dominique, he's going to continue to get better, and he's working hard at it. It's a little different when you move from the outside to the inside, and he'll keep working on it," said Reid.
Asked how Rodgers-Cromartie can improve, Reid said the former Pro Bowler needs more time.
"We'll just keep giving him reps on it," the coach said. It's a sentiment echoed by defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.
"With Dominique, he's such a talented player, good kid, hard working. The thing is, that nickel position, when you look at it it's a tough position because the receiver has a two-way go. Our goal is that Dominique has that kind of ability to be a special guy in there, and we know that it was going to take a little bit of time because it's something tough for him to do to get in there, but we know he has that kind of ability, we know in time he'll be the best nickel guy there is, just because he has that kind of ability. But yes, does it take a little bit of time? Yes."