DRC took on a different role in 2016, and has thrived in it
Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers have a scorching hot offense right now. However, their unstoppable force is met by a New York Giants’ Defense which has been an immovable object for much of this season. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Week 17’s NFC Defensive Player of the Week, speaks highly on how the season has played out so far.
“It's been fun,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “Just playing a lot of different positions, going out there and having fun. We've got a great group of guys; this secondary group keeps me young. A lot of funny individuals back there, and on top of that you're winning, so it's just been really fun.”
With Janoris Jenkins and first-round pick Eli Apple on the roster, the Giants asked Rodgers-Cromartie to move inside to the slot. Earlier in his career, the Philadelphia Eagles asked DRC to do that and it didn’t work out very well. This time, DRC has handled the transition smoothly.
“At the end of the day, once you sit down and look at everything, you're 30 years old, nine years in, still playing at a high level, and all that other stuff doesn't matter,” Rodgers-Cromartie said.
In fact, this secondary group has been playing great all year, they’ve given themselves a nickname. Move over Legion of Boom and make way for the NYPD (New York Pass Defense).
The secondary’s ability to shut down receivers has created a state of high confidence for Rodgers-Cromartie and the rest of the defensive backs.
“I think we can line up with pretty much anybody,” he said. “I think we've got a group of guys who go out there and play hard and continue to play no matter who's on the other side. You just go out there and do your job.“
Do not mistake his confidence as arrogance however, as Rodgers-Cromartie speaks highly on the Packers offensive weapons.
“They've got Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, all of them playing at a high level,” Cromartie said. “I think Jordy's got 14 touchdowns, (Davante) Adams got 12. They're producing, and they've got a quarterback that can get it to them from anywhere, from any angle. You think he's running this way and he'll throw it that way. They work well together.”
Rodgers-Cromartie also regards the man throwing the ball pretty highly as well.
“Aaron Rodgers' himself, you can't take nothing from him,” he said. “You've got to give him credit, he makes it happen. They've definitely got some guys that have a skill set at receiver. The most important is, you've got to have eye discipline. Once you get outside that pocket, you can't be looking to see what Aaron Rodgers will do because like that (snaps) he can throw it off his back foot, 60 yards down field. It comes down to eye discipline and being focused on your man, and don't try to do anything else.”
The development of the Giants defense has made waves throughout the NFL. For such a porous unit in 2015, no one could have imagined things turning out so well just one year later. Even Rodgers-Cromartie could not believe it.
“You go from 32 to top 10 defense,” he said. “You don't see that too often. They definitely added some good pieces, had a good draft class and we gel together. We came in, we started working at OTA's and everybody came on board and stuck to the script.”
Now it is up to the defense to continue their torrid play on Sunday afternoon. The Giants are definitely going to need it.