PHILADELPHIA - Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie doesn't share his teammates' jaded view of the defense.
Maybe it's because the glasses he wears off the field have no lenses. But he sees the Eagles' decision to fire defensive coordinator Juan Castillo a little differently than some of the other defensive players.
He came to Castillo's defense on Thursday, a day after defensive end Brandon Graham, middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and others suggested that coach Andy Reid's decision last week to dismiss Castillo and replace him with secondary coach Todd Bowles wasn't necessarily a bad move.
"Everybody is entitled to their opinion and can say what they want," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "But I was always taught that everybody should be accountable for himself. It's easy to blame other guys when something goes wrong. Juan was my guy. Juan made me a better player."
Rodgers-Cromartie came to the Eagles before last season as part of the trade that sent quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona. Upon arriving at training camp at Lehigh University, Castillo moved him into the slot while using Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel as the outside cornerbacks.
He found himself in an unfamiliar position and struggled to get comfortable. After registering 16 interceptions in the three previous seasons with the Cardinals, he was shut out last season. Still, Castillo saw enough potential in Rodgers-Cromartie that they traded the disgruntled Samuel to Atlanta last April and moved Rodgers-Cromartie back outside.
But there were still changes. Rodgers-Cromartie had always played off the ball, a style similar to Samuel, who will face quarterback Michael Vick and the rest of the Eagles' offense on Sunday. Castillo moved him closer to the line of scrimmage to press wide receivers in an effort to utilize Rodgers-Cromartie's size (6-foot-2, 182 pounds) and impressive speed.
Rodgers-Cromartie, 26, leads the team with three interceptions and nine pass knockdowns and is on pace to set a career high in tackles.
"Juan's the one who helped me become a press corner," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "He was always willing to help you. He was great at picking out the weakest part of your game and staying with you after practice to help you work on it. I'm a press corner now, but I'm also a playmaker. That's why I don't mind if people throw my way. Everybody gets thrown at in this league. Shoot, you can pick on me all day if you want to. I want the ball in my hands as much as possible."