Football

Why Jon Gruden likes Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and what he brings to the Raiders

Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden says he knows enough about 11-year NFL veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to believe the defensive back can help fill a hole on the team’s roster.
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden says he knows enough about 11-year NFL veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to believe the defensive back can help fill a hole on the team’s roster. Associated Press

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made his Oakland Raiders preseason debut Friday night, and coach Jon Gruden is eager to see what the 11-year NFL veteran can do.

“We’ve had a number of corners go down,” Gruden said after the Raiders’ 13-6 victory over the Green Bay Packers. “We need somebody to come in here to make a play.”

Rodgers-Cromartie, 32, signed with the Raiders on Thursday. In a related move, Oakland waived/injured safety Obi Melifonwu. He went unclaimed and likely will be placed on the Raiders’ injured reserve.

Melifonwu was the team’s second-round pick last year but has been limited by knee and hip injuries.

“I think the No. 1 ability is availability,” Gruden said of Melifonwu.

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Oakland Raiders cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie lines up against the Green Bay Packers during Friday’s preseason game. D. Ross Cameron Associated Press


And Rodgers-Cromartie was available since the New York Giants released him in March.

He is a two-time Pro Bowler (2009, 2015) and second-team All-Pro selection in 2016 in a career that has spanned Arizona (2008-10), Philadelphia (2011-12), Denver (2013) and New York (2014-17).

Rodgers-Cromartie didn’t record a tackle against the Packers, but Gruden said he knows what the Raiders are getting:

“Somebody that has a history in this league. He’s got a lot of clout, and a lot of people know who he is. We’re hoping we can rejuvenate him and get him acclimated to our defense and potentially utilize his skills he’s proven for a long time.”

Carr shutting down – Gruden said before the game that playing time for starters would be limited, and that was certainly the case with quarterback Derek Carr. He completed a 49-yard pass to Amari cooper on the first play from scrimmage and had a 19-yard check-off to Jared Cook (plus an incompletion) on his only series. Multiple reports suggest Carr won’t see the field again until the season-opener Sept. 10 against the Los Angeles Rams.

“If we practice at the speed that we do, I feel you can go out in the preseason and play a couple of plays here and there and be ready for the regular season,” Carr told reporters after the game.

Crossing paths – In warmups, Carr and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers took the opportunity to throw to old teammates who are now on the opposite team. Carr threw to his former Fresno State teammate Davante Adams and Rodgers warmed up with former Packers receiver Jordy Nelson.

“Derek threw Davante one and Aaron threw me one,” Nelson said. “It’s pretty rare to have that setup. It was fun to see those guys.”

Associated Press contributed to this report. Anthony Galaviz: 559-441-6042, @agalaviz_TheBee
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