Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie probably won't know which of Atlanta's dangerous wide receivers he'll be covering until he's actually on the field and Prince Amukamara tells him.
That's just the way he likes it.
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"I prefer whatever he says," Rodgers-Cromartie said of deferring to his fellow cornerback. "That's how he is. 'Hey DR, let's go this way, let's go that way.' And I just play off of him because one thing I know is that he knows a lot of things. He studies a lot and I feel like he puts us in the best situation, so I go off of him."
The Giants will need both of their standout cornerbacks for this game. While Amukamara and Rodgers-Cromartie are the early centerpieces to the team's defense, the Falcons come in with Julio Jones and Roddy White as their primary offensive playmakers.
Normally matchups between corners and receivers are fun to watch because of their one-on-one nature. This week, they'll be playing two-on-two.
"We've played both ways with me traveling and DRC traveling, and staying on the same side," Amukamara said. "We never know how coach [defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] is going to want it. [Spagnuolo] just wants us both to be prepared for all situations."
So prepared, in fact, that he grants them tremendous leeway on the field. Instead of instructing them where to be, he'll trust them to make their own decisions based on a mix of film study and feel.
And it'll be Amukamara making those decisions.
Ideally, they'll be mixing up between the receivers.
"We're two different style of corners," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "Prince is a more in-your-face guy that wants to press. I'm more off and want to sit back and kind of jump routes a little bit. It's definitely a different look."
The Falcons receivers are different too.
"You have to keep in mind that Roddy White has been doing it a long time," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "He's a vet, savvy guy, he understands zones and man coverages, and knows where to sit it down and keep it going."
And his partner?
"With Julio, you have to be physical," he added. "You have to get up and challenge him. If you watch film, a lot of guys tend to play off of him because he's a bigger, stronger guy and that's when they throw the little quicks to him and he takes it all the way. So you definitely have to play him physical."
Jones, who is coming off a game that earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors against the Eagles, is one of the league's elite receivers. Spagnuolo this week recalled his first encounter with him.
"He sat in my office in St. Louis when he was getting ready for the draft," the former Rams coach said. "I was like, 'We've got to find a way to get this guy.' "
The Rams were unable to. Atlanta traded five picks -- including the following year's first-rounder -- to the Browns to move up from 27th overall to sixth and snag Jones. The Rams, picking 14th that season, never had a chance.
Still, Jones left a mark on Spags.
"Look, he's as impressive a guy as I've ever sat and talked to," he said. "I'm talking about as a person, a football player, how smart he was, his goals, his vision, the whole thing. He was impressive."
Spagnuolo has had to face Jones three times in the NFL, and done a decent job of it. He hasn't scored a touchdown against a Spags-led defense. In 2012, when Spagnuolo's Saints couldn't stop anyone, they held Jones to 4 catches for 75 yards in one game and 5 catches for 48 yards in the second. Last year when Spagnuolo was a Ravens assistant they held him to 5 catches for 56 yards.
And last year, the Falcons with Jones and White played the Giants. Jones had 11 catches for 105 yards and White had two for 26.
"I call those guys game-changers," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "Those are guys that definitely can wreck the game, they can beat you short, long, or however they want to. You have to get up and challenge them. One thing they do well is get the ball in space and make something happen."
It'll be up to Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara to stop that. And up to Amukamara to decide who stops whom. Rodgers-Cromartie said he doesn't mind yielding some of his seniority and more decorated resume to Amukamara.
"Yeah, I am older," Rodgers-Cromartie said of the dynamic, "but it works, so I'm sticking with it."