Blitzing from the cornerback spot might be new for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Nnamdi Asomugha has not been utilized in the NFL as a centerfield safety. But with all of these talented players to work with, defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is working like a mad scientist to devise ways to scheme his new personnel.
"It's a matchup game and that's what we're going to try to do, but in practice you have to work all those different situations, all those different groups so that our guys can be prepared for that," Castillo said. "You may not see it in the preseason games, but we'll continue to work different groupings with those guys and get prepared for the season."
Rodgers-Cromartie's speed, which rivals wide receiver DeSean Jackson's, was on display Sunday as the defense worked on executing the corner blitz with much success. It's not something Rodgers-Cromartie did frequently with the Cardinals. But with Asomugha and Asante Samuel also able to help in coverage why not take advantage of Rodgers-Cromartie's breakneck speed?
"I never did it, but that is something I'm looking forward to coming off that edge," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "A lot of us have very different playing styles. I think we're going to do a lot to favor each of us."
The three Pro Bowl cornerbacks are willing to do whatever the coaching staff wants whether it's trying new spots or playing in a style different than previous years. On Thursday night in the preseason opener, Samuel lined up at cornerback but also dropped back as the deep safety which is something he did last season when he picked off Peyton Manning to secure the win over the Colts.
"Whatever the coach needs me to play, whether it's safety or roaming the field, I think I've got pretty good ability to do it," Samuel said. "That comes with having a lot of good corners on our team and a lot of good players. Plus, we've got different coverages that we're going to execute."
It's not just the cornerbacks that will make this defense tough to beat. Asomugha said that the pressure that will be generated from a "pretty special" defensive line will just add to the aspirin intake of offensive coordinators week in and week out.
"I definitely think (our defense) will be tough to prepare for. Obviously, there are some really smart offensive minds in the league so they can figure out a lot of different things," Asomugha said. "With the confidence that we have on defense, the skill that we have, the experience that we have, I think it's going to be really tough. When we're playing at our best, we'll be tough to beat on defense.
"I think we have a great opportunity to do some big things this year. With those expectations, you have to put in a little more focus. It might not be as easy as other people are expecting it to be."
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