Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not a trash-talker by nature. But he can be provoked.
"They have to start it," he said of what it takes for him to engage in some verbal back-and-forth with an opposing offensive player. "I'm not just going to come out and say it. If you catch a ball, and you know how they do that [signaling for a first down] and all that celebration, I'm not with all that. I'm already mad you caught it, so doing that is going to bring more out of me. It's easy to get me going, and when I get going, I'm going."
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Rodgers-Cromartie said the player who gets under his skin the most is Steve Smith, formerly of the Panthers and now with the Ravens.
"He brings the competition," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "He is a guy that you know is going to give you 100 percent and I love going against him."
The Ravens aren't on the Giants' schedule this year, but Rodgers-Cromartie has experience playing in the NFC East after a stint with the Eagles. So he knows the receivers he will be covering. And jawing with.
"That's all you think about," he said. "You go down each team, with Pierre [Garcon] and DeSean [Jackson], Dez [Bryant], Jeremy [Maclin], Riley [Cooper], there are a lot of receivers and then not only that, you have quarterbacks that can play in this league. As far as a corner, with the competition, it is definitely a good division to play in."
Rodgers-Cromartie said he and Jackson, who now plays for the Redskins, used to have a lot to say to each other in practice in Philadelphia.
"You know what kind of guy he is and any chance to beat you, you know he would like to do it," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "He would do his celebration dances even in practice, so there definitely was some competition there when we went back and forth."
Now that they are playing against each other in a game, the stakes will be even higher. And so will the volume. That may not be Rodgers-Cromartie's default setting, but he said he can crank it up if he has to.
"I don't say too much, I just play the game," he said. "Don't get me wrong now, I trash talk. I get in you. But for the most part I am just going to chill. That is just me."