In ‘low-key frustrating' season, Rasul Douglas prepping to start


It’s been kind of a weird season for Rasul Douglas. 

Aside from two games in which he’s played a ton coming off the bench, the second-year corner from West Virginia hasn’t gotten very much playing time at all. 

That’s about to change — at least for one game — Sunday night. Jalen Mills has a foot injury that has kept him out this week of practice, which means Douglas will likely make his first start of the 2018 season, a season he called “low-key frustrating.”

Just a patient season, wait for my number to get called and try to make some plays. Low-key frustrating because I want to be out there. Not only do I want to be out there, I want to help us win. I feel like just me being in the game is helping the team. So a little bit frustrating, but I got teammates on the team, guys who got as much faith in me as God.

Douglas, 23, said his faith helps him get through frustrating times. He said he understands God doesn’t have the same timing he does and he’s OK with it. 

It’s just puzzling the Eagles haven’t been able to get Douglas on the field a little more. He’s not an All-Pro, but he seems to make plays when he gets his chances. 

Like most backups — heck, all backups — Douglas said he tries to prepare like a starter. When asked if that’s realistically hard to do, he said no, because when he’s a backup, he’s working scout team. And the scout team reps, he thinks, can be even more valuable because he’s going up against the Eagles’ starting receivers. That means facing Alshon Jeffery every day in practice. That can help anyone get better. 

Maybe Douglas is better than he was last season. We just haven’t been able to see him play much. 

The first half of this season has been completely different from the first half of Douglas’ rookie season. Just check out his playing time at the halfway point in both years: 

2017: 299 snaps out of 514 (58.2 percent) with five starts 

2018: 93 snaps out of 508 (18.3 percent) with zero starts 

“It’s great that we got Rasul, somebody that we trust who can go out there and make it happen for us,” safety Corey Graham said. “It’s big for us. I’m glad that we got him and I know he’s going to go out there and do well.” 

In the 2018 season, Douglas has played significant snaps just twice in eight games. In the Giants game, he played 42 snaps as an emergency safety after Sidney Jones went down and Avonte Maddox went to nickel corner. He played fairly well. 

But after that game, Jim Schwartz said it wasn’t ideal and the team still viewed Douglas as an outside corner. So after that game, the Eagles brought Dexter McDougle in off the street to play nickel cornerback before cutting him this week. For whatever reason, the Eagles thought their best move was to play McDougle at NCB instead of playing Douglas outside or at safety and then figuring it out. 

The only reason Douglas played a lot in the Jaguars game before the bye (oddly enough, another 42-snap game) was that Mills hurt his foot. 

And as soon as Douglas got into the game, Blake Bortles threw a deep ball right at him. It fell incomplete. 

“You know how it goes. It’s the NFL,” Douglas said. “Coaches know who’s in the game, know who the primary corners are. And when they see a guy who hasn’t played the whole game, his feet are probably cold, when you come in, they’re going right at you. For me, it’s kind of an anxious thing. I’m excited. Because I know when I get in, I have a chance to have an immediate impact to change the game. As soon as I get in. You know the ball’s coming at you.” 

Douglas admitted there’s a chance the Cowboys might try to test him Sunday night. If they do, he’ll welcome that challenge and he’ll be ready. His opportunities don’t seem to come very often; now he just needs to make the best of them. 

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