First-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo received a brand new toy on Thursday in the form of Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Eagles will now boast one of the premier cornerback tandems in the National Football League with Rodgers-Cromartie on the right side and four-time Pro Bowl selection Asante Samuel on the left.
After Friday morning's practice, Castillo gushed about Rodgers-Cromartie's ability to create turnovers and how that will help continue a long-standing tradition of the Eagles defense.
"He's a very good football player. He's tall. He's very athletic," Castillo said. "He makes plays, turnovers. Turnovers have always been a big thing for the Philadelphia Eagles defense, back with Jim Johnson, and he's done a good job with that. He's a shutdown corner."
In just three seasons, Rodgers-Cromartie has 16 career interceptions (three of them have come in the playoffs). At 6-2, 182 pounds, Rodgers-Cromartie also brings a unique blend of size and athleticism to the cornerback position. That will mesh well with Samuel, who has led the NFC in interceptions in back-to-back seasons. Castillo said that he looks forward to seeing Samuel infect Rodgers-Cromartie with his work ethic and studious approach to the game.
"Asante Samuel got drafted in the fourth round. He's a premier corner. What that tells you is if you work your butt off, just like Asante does before practice, after practice, studying, that you can be the best," Castillo said. "That's what we're trying to preach to all of our guys and instead of having one playmaker, two playmakers, let's have 11 playmakers. Why not? Because Asante wasn't a first-round draft pick. Trent wasn't a first-round draft pick. What did they do? They worked their butts off to be the best."
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