Last season, Arizona Cardinals’ cornerback Eric Green looked a bit overwhelmed at times. A solid tackler, his coverage skills were not quite up to the task, as evidenced by his drubbing at the hands of WR Terrell Owens during the Dallas game last year. Some questioned his ability to play the CB position, and much like his teammate Antrel Rolle, many thought Green might be better suited at the Free Safety position or as a special teamer.
Now in his third year as a pro, the former Virginia Tech standout appears to have upped his game in the off-season and has looked sharp during the preseason contests against Houston and San Diego, earning himself the starting job at cornerback for the 2007-08 season. He replaces Rolle who has struggled mightily, committing several mental errors and pass interference penalties. Rolle has now shifted to the nickel back and back up CB position, allowing Green to have his opportunity. Both Head coach Ken Whisenhunt and Def Coord. Clancy Pendergast hope that Green can become a playmaker in the secondary which will allow Pendergast to use pro bowl SS Adrian Wilson in a lot more blitz schemes.
The Cardinals haven’t had a lock down corner since Aeneas Williams left for greener pastures with the St. Louis Rams back in 2000, and they are in desperate need of one now. The Cards have struggled to stop anyone through the first 3 pre-season games, and are ranked 31st overall in total defense during that time. In 2006, this unit was ranked 29th in total defense and 30th in pass defense.
Green is approaching the end of his 4 year contract and needs to have a solid season to get his extension with the team. More importantly, Green needs to play well to provide his team the opportunity to win some games!!! I think Eric Green is poised to have a breakout year, he is a great physical DB who plays the game with a lot of heart and determination. The best thing about Green is that he is young and has the time to develop into a top tier CB in the NFL. For now, we just need him to be solid. The coaches are giving him the chance, and so far Green is stepping up to the challenge.