Philadelphia Eagles News

Hanson Not Backing Down To Boykin

Only three players on the current roster have played more games as an Eagle than this player, but the answer will likely surprise you.

A key role player since 2006, the Eagles are 7-3 in games this player has started since 2008.

The answer is cornerback Joselio Hanson, who has carved out a long career by NFL standards with his ability to work inside. Hanson bristles at the term "nickel corner" because it makes it seem like he is unable to play on the outside. That's not the case, but Hanson knows how important the slot cornerback is in today's NFL.

"These days you have to have a nickel specialist," Hanson said. "A lot of the top corners can't even play in the slot. They don't want to play in the slot. It's fine for these days."

Hanson admitted that 2011 was a "tough year" for him. He was released by the Eagles at the end of training camp only to be re-signed four days later to a two-year contract. Hanson was active for all 16 games, but he lost his nickel corner position to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who struggled after never previously playing the slot in his career. Injuries, however, allowed Hanson to reprise his nickel role in the latter half of the season. In fact, the final two games of the year featured Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the starters on the outside and Hanson inside playing the slot.

"In the end, I went in there and did my thing," Hanson said. "If I'm inside (in 2012), that'll be a great combination."

That alignment could be what the Eagles utilize in 2012, but there is some competition. The Eagles used a fourth-round pick on cornerback Brandon Boykin, who has extensive slot experience from his time at Georgia.

"He's a good kid. He's a good player, very athletic. I think he's going to be a good player in this league," Hanson said. "I don't plan on giving up my position anytime soon. We'll see what happens."

Hanson remarked at the Organized Team Activities that this is the fastest Eagles offense he has seen during his tenure, but he also cautioned that the pads aren't on yet.

"They're running free right now, so they're feeling good about themselves," Hanson said.

Even though he's 5-9 compared to Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie who are 6-2, Hanson embraces the press coverage style that is expected to be utilized more frequently by the Eagles in 2012.

"I feel like we're all great press corners. I might not be the biggest guy, but I can move my feet and win with my feet more than the bigger guys," Hanson said. "It's not really about who is the strongest and all of that."

Originally a rookie free agent of the 49ers in 2003, Hanson also spent a year playing in NFL Europe before landing with the Eagles in 2006. He's been a part of two division championship teams and another that reached the NFC title game. When he looks at what the Eagles have put together for 2012, he knows it can be a special team.

"I've got a good feeling about this season," Hanson said. "I hope we work hard and nobody messes it up. We'll be all right."

That's just another reason why Hanson isn't giving up his job without a fight - one that will play out later this summer during Training Camp at Lehigh University.

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