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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ready to show his true self to Giants fans in 2015

Giants corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie walks off the

Giants corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie walks off the field during training camp in East Rutherford, N.J. on Aug. 5, 2014. Credit: Joe Epstein

Giants fans did not get to see what Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is capable of last season.

Neither did he.

When the cornerback looks at clips from his 2014 injury plagued season, he said he often has the same thought: "I know that's not me."

So far this spring, Rodgers-Cromartie has been, well, himself. He's feeling good physically after resting and rehabbing the series of injuries that slowed him a year ago (but rarely kept him off the field). He's liking the new defensive system Steve Spagnuolo is installing (which he said is cornerback friendly). And he has a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing first season with a team that gave him a five-year, $39-million contract last offseason.

"I'm looking forward to another opportunity to go out there and erase that," he said after Monday's OTA.

Asked if fans have seen what he should be accomplishing, he said: "Nah They've seen aspects of it."

This year, he hopes to give them the whole thing.

His health was the biggest deterrent last year, when he had two interceptions and 12 passes defensed, both the second-lowest totals of his career. It was a nagging, forever moving injury that was called, at times, an ankle, hamstring, IT band and hip issue. He trained at IMG in Miami before arriving at the team's offseason program.

"I'm feeling a little better," he said. "Able to move around. Haven't had a problem yet. Feeling good, feeling good."

He's also more comfortable with his team. After a nomadic career in which he was on a different team in 2012, 2013 and 2014, he's settling in with the Giants for 2015.

"It took a whole year of going to battle with these guys to understand the Giant way," he said. "It definitely feels better going into this season. . . . If you know anything about Coach Coughlin, you know he's a strict guy. Just that aspect of it and the things that are expected [was different]. But it's for the better."

And, he said, he believes the defense will improve under Spagnuolo's coaching.

"I truly feel that," he said. "His whole concept and the things that he'll allow us to do, I feel pretty good."

Rodgers-Cromartie said the biggest difference between Perry Fewell's schemes from last year and Spagnuolo's are at his position.

"I would say this defense is kind of corner-friendly," he said. "In some of the things he does, he allows you to use your vision a whole lot more and do some things that really play to the corners that we have's skill set as far as vision and breaking on balls. As far as your reads, sometimes more trap coverages, things that will throw the quarterback instead of just lining up and playing man."

Plus, it will be more physical.

"Definitely going to be a lot more pressing," he said.

The one wound that Rodgers-Cromartie has yet to shake is the loss of his close friend, safety Antrel Rolle. They were teammates in Arizona at the start of their careers, and Rolle was a big reason why Rodgers-Cromartie signed with the Giants last winter (although he said he probably would have anyway had he known they would last only one year together).

"First coming in [to the NFL] he took me under his wing and did a lot for me and coming over here and having him leave it's like, dang!" Rodgers-Cromartie said. "It is a business and life goes on. It hurts a little bit, but you have to get it out of your system kind of fast."

Has he done so yet?

"Not that fast," he said with a grin, "but it's getting there."

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