The argument isn’t (or shouldn’t be) whether Nnamdi Asomugha is playing well. For the most part, he is. It’s whether he is living up to the five-year, $60 million deal he signed last offseason.
Right now it’s difficult to build a case that Asomugha is earning his paycheck, considering what Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is doing on the other side of the field. DRC’s numbers are better, and he’s making considerably less coin.
Take a look at the side-by-side comparison of the two corners.
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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie talked about what goes into his preparation when getting set to face an opponent.
“I flip the book open and I look at each receiver. I look at speed first, that’s the first thing I do, and I see what they ran in the 40,” said Rodgers-Cromartie. “Then I look at the statistics and see how many times they’ve been thrown at.”
And what does Calvin Johnson clock in at?
“He is 4.38. Everybody else 4.5 or plus,” said Rodgers-Cromartie.
Will it be Nnamdi Asomugha or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Calvin Johnson Sunday?
That might not be entirely the right question, because it won’t be a solo mission.
“There’s only been like, not even 10 to 15 snaps this year where I’ve had one-on-one [coverage] or something like it,” said Johnson.
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When Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came up with the interception in the end zone early in the fourth quarter, he (against better judgment) declined to take a knee and instead looped to his left and up the sidelines before being forced out at the nine-yard line. The Pro-Bowl corner then made his way through the sea of leaping green and settled in near midfield.
All the while, Juan Castillo was tracking him.
Three different cornerbacks — Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Brandon Boykin and then Nnamdi Asomugha — took turns lining up over Larry Fitzgerald on the Cardinals’ first three plays from scrimmage. It was immediately evident that trying to contain the star receiver would be a group assignment.
That wasn’t the initial plan, however, as Asomugha laid out afterwards.
“We came into the week, I was going to shadow him,” said Asomugha. “We kind of had an idea, I think Coach [Todd] Bowles had an idea that that’s what they were figuring, so they were going to move him and put him in all sorts of different places. So we said let’s just let’s just stay on our sides and make sure that Boykin is at the nickel, keep Dominique on the outside. That was our plan, and they were able to do some things to take advantage of it.”
Here’s a player-by-player look at the Eagles’ secondary, heading into Sunday afternoon’s game against the Cardinals. Note that the cornerback target numbers come from having charted opponents’ throws with the coach’s tape.
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