Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, one of the few New York Giants who played in all 16 games last season, is in the midst of dealing with a groin issue at the start of training camp. However, Rodgers-Cromartie has said he plans to play through it and "just play ball" with his teammates.
"You want to go out, but I’m limited right now," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "Even though you want to take time off and try to heal your body, your guys are out there fighting. You've got to be out there with them. I’ll get through it."
Rodgers-Cromartie is entering the second season of his five year contract with Big Blue. The 2009 Pro Bowl cornerback was the Giants' top cover man this past year and will be paramount to the success against passing offenses. Because the Giants have an uncertain amount of depth at cornerback, it makes it that much more important for DRC to be 100 percent heading into the start of the regular season.
"Not really. I still try to play the way that I play," Rodgers-Cromartie said about the nagging injuries he battled through last year. "It did slow me down in some areas, but I learned that I don’t always have to use my speed and just being more patient and technical."
Under the new defense of coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Rodgers-Cromartie says there will be a lot of pressure on the defensive backs to succeed because of the front four rush and different blitz packages likely to be used more often than last year.
"It’s kind of complicated because it takes a lot of communication, Rodgers-Cromartie said. "That’s the number one thing on defense, is communicating. Communication tends to be hard, but you just got to come in and know your assignments and know what you’re doing."
Rodgers-Cromartie also spoke about Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to report to Giants training camp but has reportedly made contact with team officials and staff. He believes that Pierre-Paul would add an extra element to the pass rush.
"He’s an add on. Just looking at us going against those guys yesterday, they definitely got off the ball real good, and in his face a lot," said Rodgers-Cromartie. "With that being said, you add a guy like JPP, it could get scary."
"I can tell that (Spagnuolo’s) going to be a guy that gets after that ball," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "On the back end, you've got to hold up. We've got to be more focused, disciplined, and have that shutdown mentality because you know he’s going to go get it."
That focus and discipline will be a key for the young safeties currently being employed by the Giants. Jeromy Miles, who was just signed two weeks ago, is the only safety with quality NFL experience. But, Rodgers-Cromartie said Miles has served as a good mentor and that the young safeties are getting better each day.
"When you think about it, which one of our safeties right now played in a real game -- NFL game? I mean, none of them, for real. So to come out here and for us to go out against a team (Bengals) that I think has a good offense, we’re right on track."
DRC said there is a lot of risk involved for the cornerbacks in the new system, saying that one mistake "and it's six (points)." But, he welcomes the pressure and believes his defensive teammates are ready to handle it.
"Yeah, at the end of the day, it just comes down to competing," said Rodgers-Cromartie. "When you know you’ve got some guys that can get after that ball on our front four, it makes you feel a little bit better about yourself. You know the ball has to come out quick, so it does put pressure on you. We’re ready for it."
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