EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Steve Spagnuolo's second stint as the New York Giants' defensive coordinator has barely begun, but he got a big endorsement from one of the team's biggest stars Monday.
"Yes ma'am," cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said without hesitation, when asked if the Giants' defense can be better in 2015. "I truly feel that just [Spagnuolo's] whole concept and the things that he allows us to do, I feel pretty good."
The Giants gave up the fourth-most yards in the NFL last season, leading to the dismissal of former defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. It sounds like Rodgers-Cromartie is much more comfortable in Spagnuolo's system.
"I would say this defense is kinda corner[back] friendly," he said. "It allows you to use your vision a whole lot more and do some things that really play to the corners that we have, [their] skill sets, as far as vision and breaking on balls."
The Giants had high expectations when they signed Rodgers-Cromartie to a five-year, $39 million contract in the spring of 2014. But his first season was rather underwhelming. "DRC" played in all 16 games, but often had to shuffle on and off the field due to injuries.
Although the 2015 season is still more than three months away, Rodgers-Cromartie said Monday he feels good physically right now, which is promising.
He also said he feels better with a year in the organization under his belt: "It took a whole year, just to go to battle with these guys, get an understanding of just the Giant way of doing things."
When asked what's different about the "Giant way," Rodgers-Cromartie replied, "Shoot, everything. If you know anything about Coach Coughlin, you know he's a strict guy. Just that aspect, and the things that are expected kinda. But it's for the best. It's helping us out in the long run."
Rodgers-Cromartie still sounds happy to be with the Giants, despite the fact that they did not re-sign safety Antrel Rolle in the offseason. Rolle helped recruit Rodgers-Cromartie to New York, and their lockers were side-by-side.
"That's always hard, especially (losing) a guy like Antrel -- first coming in, he took me under his wing and did a lot for me," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "To have him leave is like, dang. But it's a business, life goes on -- it hurts a little bit, but you've gotta get it out of your system."
Is it out of his system?
"No, not that fast," he said, smiling. "But it's getting there."
With plenty of time to spare.