How he beats you… The Eagles’ woes this season mostly are not attributable to their pass defense. They’re ranked 12th in the league in pass defense and 12th in total defense, and Rodgers-Cromartie and fellow cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha have combined for four of the team’s seven interceptions.
“Those guys are pretty good, pretty athletic,” Redskins wide receiver Leonard Hankerson said. “They have a pretty good defense—d-line, linebackers, cornerbacks…. We’ve got to come to play. We’ve got to come do our job.”
Rodgers-Cromartie leads the Eagles with three interceptions and 10 pass deflections this season. His 19 interceptions since the 2008 season (including those in postseason games) rank fourth among NFL cornerbacks behind Asante Samuel (27), Tramon Williams (24) and DeAngelo Hall (20).
“Nnamdi, he’s a press guy,” Hankerson said. “They play a whole lot of man-to-man over there. Cromartie, he likes to sit back and read with everything in front of him, stuff like that. He wants to jump a whole lot of stuff. So we’ve got to come prepared to run good routes and be able to beat man coverage and press coverage and stuff like that.”
How to stop him… The Redskins will have to be careful not to allow Rodgers-Cromartie to make the sort of big play that could aid the Philadelphia offense and its rookie starter at quarterback, Nick Foles. If the Redskins can avoid turnovers, they can force Foles to make plays and construct long drives to pull out a win in his first NFL start.
Rodgers-Cromartie probably will be aggressive in trying to figure out where Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is going with the ball. He has three career two-interception games, most recently against Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden in this season’s opener.
“That’s what he’s doing, reading quarterbacks and jumping routes, pretty much sitting on everything,” Hankerson said. “Like I said, we’ve got to be able to get in and out of our breaks and protect the ball.”