ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s laugh rang from his corner of the Denver Broncos’ locker room after Friday’s practice, just as it did during his two seasons with the Eagles.
Former Eagles coach Andy Reid used to say that “every day is a good day for DRC.” But the team suffered from more bad days than good days when Rodgers-Cromartie was in Philadelphia.
Rodgers-Cromartie’s smile is for good reason this season. He signed a one-year deal in Denver during the offseason and has become an integral part of the Broncos’ defense. A win in Sunday’s AFC Championship against the New England Patriots would give him his second Super Bowl appearance in his six-year career.
Rodgers-Cromartie insisted he’s the same player he was with the Eagles. He’s just making more plays and winning more games.
“Same me,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I had a lot of plays to make last year in Philly, and I didn’t make the opportunities. I made the most of them this year.”
The numbers suggest there’s been improvement. Rodgers-Cromartie is ranked among the NFL’s top cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus. Only 44.6 percent of the passes thrown in his direction have been caught this season. That number was around 58 percent during the last two seasons. His three interceptions this season match his two-year total with the Eagles.
“Just going out there playing with confidence,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “After you lose so many games in Philly last year, you go out there timid, scared to make a mistake, thinking that you’re going to get put on the bench. You got all that going through your head. This year, I just said, … ‘I’m going to go play.’ “
Rodgers-Cromartie said he did not need to prove anything despite signing only a one-year deal.
He arrived in in 2011 as a Pro Bowler in his prime with an intriguing blend of size, speed, coverage skills, and ball skills.