Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the best athletes in the league. With that being said his play at cornerback this season has been somewhat puzzling. When the Philadelphia Eagles opened up training camp over the summer, DRC was playing like a budding superstar. I personally watched numerous training camp practices and DRC's play was elite. His unique combination of size, speed, and instincts allowed him to blanket receivers and make plays on the ball. His great camp during a contract year had prepared him to be one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the league.
During the season opener against the Cleveland Browns, DRC recorded two amazing interceptions. Three weeks later against the New York Giants he picked off another pass. Through four weeks of the season he had three interceptions. Then the team began to struggle. DRC has a very loud personality and wears his emotions on his sleeve. When he was playing great he could be seen dancing, laughing, and just all around "swagging". With a player like that, his confidence plays a large role in his production on the field. As the team started to struggle, so did DRC. His play since early in the season has become progressively worse.
Since the early season brilliance DRC has been routinely beat in coverage (Dez Bryant both games) and his tackling has been abysmal. Every corner gets beat in coverage so this is going to happen from time to time. But DRC has been unable to get out of this slump and it does not help when the team struggles and the media pressure gets turned up. DRC will regain his cover corner prowess at some point either this year or next. However, the tackling issues are ALARMING. They appear to derive from a lack of effort not talent. Sure DRC is not the strongest corner, weighing in at 182 pounds, but the poor effort and intensity are inexcusable.
Why is the talented corner at times avoiding tackles? Is it he does not want to get hurt? Is it he lost his belief in the team and is playing only for himself at this point? Is it he lacks physical toughness? The toughness question does not seem to be it, DRC was a part of the Arizona Cardinals when they went to the Super Bowl during the 2008 season. His play then and now is vastly different. DRC needs to be bought into the team in order for his heart to be in it and that just is not the case currently. Combine the Eagles' failure with DRC being "distracted" by his contract status and that is where the tackling issues stem from. He is more than capable of tackling better, but his volatile personality holds him back during tough times.
DRC can become one of the elite corners in this league, but he needs to forget all of the circumstances surrounding him and get back to playing football. Easier said then done, but hopefully DRC will be able to finish the season strong and EARN that contract he so desperately wants.
On Sunday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys DRC referenced his elementary school instead of his college. C'mon Man be a professional and leave that nonsense off camera. Get back to playing football the way you can.
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