Joselio Hanson's 2009 season was defined by the four-game suspension that the nickel cornerback was given for testing positive for a diuretic during the 2008 playoffs. Hanson has vehemently protested the unfair nature of the suspension, but he's put that behind him and is now ready to move on and make his 2010 season memorable for something else - establishing himself as a starting cornerback.
"My goal for 2010 is to be the starting right corner for the Philadelphia Eagles," Hanson said, "and to get a lot more turnovers for this team. I feel like I left some out there last year and I want to capitalize on all of them."
When Sheldon Brown was traded to the Cleveland Browns during the off-season, Ellis Hobbs was pegged as the team's new right cornerback, opposite Asante Samuel on the left. Hobbs has a starting pedigree as he started all 16 games for the New England Patriots during their undefeated 2007 regular season. But Hobbs is also coming off a season-ending neck injury last year that has limited his participation in this off-season's activities. Though Hobbs will be ready to fully participate in training camp this summer, his absence during the team drills portion of the post-draft mini-camp and Organized Team Activities opened the door for a few other players to take reps with the first team on the outside.
Hanson got the lion's share of the first team reps at right corner in the base defense, though he moved back inside during nickel packages with Macho Harris moving to the outside. That experience has given Hanson the confidence to believe he can make it as a starter.
The biggest question mark about Hanson's ability to play on the outside is his size. At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Hanson is the same height as Hobbs (5-9, 195), while Harris and rookie Trevard Lindley, the other player to get reps on the right side, are both 6-foot. Still, Hanson doesn't believe that his size is any hindrance to his ability to play on the outside. In fact, he thinks it's an easier position than the nickel.
"Playing outside feels a lot more natural for me," Hanson said. "I've been playing it all my life so I love it out there. And, it seems like the guys outside get a lot more balls thrown at them. So I like that more too."
Hanson knows that he may be considered by some to be a longshot starter, but he's willing to let his play on the field speak for itself.
"All I can control is when I get on the field and get my shot," he said. "We'll see when training camp rolls around and we get the pads on. That's when we'll be able to tell and see what's what.
"I just have to play my game, play the defense and don't try to be superman out there and go outside the defense. There are 11 guys out there with you, so it's not all on me."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 4:15 p.m., June 12