On the radar: Comeback cornerbacks

July, 8, 2010
7/08/10
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NFC On the Radar: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.

The Seattle Seahawks' Marcus Trufant, the San Francisco 49ers' Nate Clements and the Arizona Cardinals' Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have talent. Each has been named to a Pro Bowl. Rodgers-Cromartie made it last season, but the knee injury he suffered in the playoffs gave him something in common with Trufant and Clements.

[+] EnlargeDominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesFor cornerbacks coming back from injuries like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, recovering mentally is just as important as returning physically.
All three are coming off injury-affected seasons. How well they recover -- physically and psychologically -- qualifies as an important storyline for each of their teams this summer. Cornerbacks without confidence quickly become liabilities. How well these corners compete in training camp could prove pivotal.

Some of the signature moments and games in the NFC West last season came at the expense of division teams' pass defense:

  • The Minnesota Vikings' Brett Favre throwing a miraculous touchdown pass in the final seconds to beat the San Francisco 49ers.
  • The Indianapolis Colts overtaking the 49ers with a trick pass in the fourth quarter.
  • The Atlanta Falcons' Roddy White catching eight passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers.
  • Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans beating the Seattle Seahawks for a 64-yard touchdown on the first play of the game.
  • Johnson surpassing 190 yards receiving against the Seahawks and one week later against the St. Louis Rams.
  • The Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers passing for 423 yards and four touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals in the wild-card round, narrowly missing a wide-open Greg Jennings for what could have been an 80-yard touchdown strike in overtime.

The Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals need their top cornerbacks at their best to compete effectively in an increasingly pass-happy NFL.

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