Rasul Douglas’ Goal Isn’t Tied to Playing Time
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Often the most popular player in a city with a struggling NFL team is the backup quarterback.
That human-nature belief of the grass is always greener also applies to other positions as well, however, none more so than cornerback in Philadelphia where the faithful have often been very critical of starters Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby.
The logic of veteran coaches like Jim Schwartz and Cory Undlin not understanding they have better options on the bench is flawed to say the least but fans don't get to see players like Rasul Douglas in practice so when the former third-round pick holds up in a cameo here or there, the small sample size is overvalued and the assumption is that things might get better without the regulars.
Needless to say, the real-world impact of that flawed thinking unveiled itself against Dallas last week when Schwartz entered the contest without Mills and nickel back Sidney Jones before losing Darby to a torn ACL in the third quarter.
Douglas was the next man up and played 97 percent of the defensive snap, finishing with eight tackles, one for loss. Overall, though, he struggled at time in key situations as did others like replacements like Avonte Maddox and Chandon Sullivan.
Schwartz isn't exactly fond of giving out "gold stars" and wasn't exactly patting Douglas on the back for his performance against the Cowboys but remains confident in the lengthy second-year player.
“He played like a 27-20 loss. That's the way the team played, that's the way the defense played, and that's the way he played,” Schwartz remarked. “We all need to play better. We need to play the pass better and we need to tackle better. [Rasul's] got a lot of pride and confidence. He'll bounce back from it.”
Douglas wasn't about to argue with any of that and actually admitted more work needs to be done and there are still opportunities ahead.
“I think we did OK as a group,” Douglas said. “Our record speaks to that. OK. So, we've got to pick it up but we still have games, still four in our division, so it's still good. We know we can play better, we know we still have better in us, but at the end of the day, until we put it out on the field, we're just OK.”
This week things get even more difficult with the pedestrian Dallas passing attack replaced by the high-powered New Orleans Saints, who possess a future Hall of Fame quarterback completing nearly 78 percent of his passes with a 22-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in Drew Brees.
“They're the hottest team in the NFL,” Douglas said at his locker on Tuesday. “Their offense is pretty good, I haven't seen anyone stop them on film yet. They've got a great quarterback in Drew Brees who can make all the throws. So, it's going to be a big test. We just need to be locked in and go down there ready to play.”
And for Douglas, there is a far greater goal than just playing time.
“I just want to win,” the North Jersey native said. “I honestly don't care about anything else. If I played 10 snaps in a game but we win, I can go home happy knowing that I helped in practice on the scout team or did by my job when I got in for those 10 plays. I think that's the only thing that really matters for all the guys in this locker room.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen