Secondary Setting Up Shop in New Roles
Antrel Rolle (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
Antrel Rolle (Stephen Dunn/Getty)

Posted Dec 12, 2008


The secondary seems to be settling into comfortable roles, and coaches hope that translates into a productive unit over the final three games and into the playoffs. The cornerback positions have been a work in progress as the team makes the transition from Eric Green starting to rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie taking over that role.

Eric Green can't even get into the game now. He has descended the depth chart and is now the fifth corner and wasn't even active last week against the Rams.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, meanwhile, is improving almost weekly. He has three interceptions this year, one more than Green has in four NFL seasons. Rodgers-Cromartie's speed allows him to compensate for some missteps, and coaches aren't afraid to leave him man coverage.

Free safety Antrel Rolle is improving, too. He moved from cornerback this year and hit some rough stretches early in the season. He sometimes took bad angles and missed too many open-field tackles.

He has improved in both areas. Rolle and strong safety Adrian Wilson often swing between the free and strong positions, not necessarily adjusting when the offense shifts.

That means Rolle is blitzing some off the edge now and moving down in the box to play against the run.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--OLB Clark Haggans has a serious injury to his left foot and could be out for the rest of the season. He is consulting with a specialist before the team makes a final decision. A backup, Haggans is a key reserve who plays almost as much as starter Chike Okeafor.

--FB Terrelle Smith has missed practice this week to attend to a personal matter. Smith, a nine-year veteran, has played enough that he could practice on Friday and be productive in a game, but the club might decide to go with Tim Castille in the role of blocking fullback.

--LB Monty Beisel is now the primary backup at three positions: the strong outside spot as well as the two inside linebacker positions.

--QB Kurt Warner has committed eight turnovers in the past four games (six interceptions and two fumbles). There is a renewed focus on him taking care of the football.

--LB Gerald Hayes is coming off one of his best games in six NFL seasons. Hayes had 11 tackles, two forced fumbles and a half sack. He was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.



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ILB Monty Beisel (profile)
CB Eric Green (profile)
MLB Gerald Hayes (profile)
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (profile)
FS Antrel Rolle (profile)
FB Terrelle Smith (profile)
QB Kurt Warner (profile)
S Adrian Wilson (profile)
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