The NFL has long had a reputation as being a copycat league, with teams looking to find success by incorporating elements from other successful teams.
So it wasn’t much of a surprise that the Giants put such a heavy emphasis on rebuilding their defensive secondary, especially at cornerback, by adding prized free-agent acquisition and former Denver Broncos star Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
A look at the performance of the 2013 Giants cornerbacks—starters Prince Amukamara and Trumaine McBride—doesn’t tell a pretty picture.
According to data compiled from Pro Football Focus, the combined NFL rating for the Giants cornerbacks last year was 82.1. While not bad—the lower the number for defensive backs, the better—it was still an area in which the team felt it could improve.
Per that same data, the Giants cornerbacks also allowed 58.5 percent of the passes thrown at them to be completed.
Enter Rodgers-Cromartie, who finished as PFF’s sixth-best cornerback last year. He allowed 47.1 percent of the passes thrown at him to be completed for 565 yards and four touchdowns while breaking up 12 passes in 472 coverage snaps.
He also had the third-best coverage mark in the league behind Richard Sherman of Seattle and Darrelle Revis, then with Tampa Bay.
Although the Giants won’t come right out and admit it, one of the reasons behind their struggles to get sacks and pressures on the opposing quarterback was the other team being able to get rid of the ball so quickly.
With a tandem of Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara patrolling the defensive backfield, the hope is that the team will be able to enjoy far more sacks, especially of the coverage variety, than they have in recent years.
Unless otherwise noted, all salary information is from Over the Cap, all stats are from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), and all quotes have been obtained firsthand.