Rasul Douglas hasn’t seen the field much this season but that could change this Sunday.
Rookie Avonte Maddox was the choice to switch positions and replace Rodney McLeod at safety so Douglas saw the field sparingly on defense from Week 1-5.
Fans and media members alike have speculated for two seasons now whether Douglas would be a fit at safety and Philadelphia got a first glimpse of that last week against the Giants.
Jones was forced out of the game with an injury, pushing Maddox inside and Douglas to safety.
The former third-round pick held his own with a 58.8 coverage grade, almost coming up with a diving one-handed interception.
That is what you get from Rasul Douglas. When he is on the field you never know when he will come up with a game-changing play.
Late in the season opener against the Falcons, with Atlanta driving in the red zone, Douglas came up with an interception to halt the Falcons drive. It was on his first play of the game, covering one of the best receivers in the NFL in Julio Jones.
Simply put, Douglas is a play-maker. And he may be needed in a big way against the Carolina Panthers this week.
Douglas is going to be on the field Sunday.
Jones is week to week and the Eagles were already thin in the secondary after McLeod was put on IR earlier in the season.
Maddox was filling in as the second safety next to Malcolm Jenkins, but he has been the backup in the slot throughout the season and was the one to fill in for Jones last week.
If Jim Schwartz keeps Maddox inside, Douglas would likely be back at safety for the second straight week. The Eagles could elect to move Mills inside with Douglas on the outside, or have him shadow Funchess/Olsen outside and inside.
The third option is an interesting one. If the Eagles run more Cover 2 like they did last week, Jenkins is going to be playing deep. If that is the case Douglas could come inside if Funchess or Olsen lined up in the slot.
Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham could be used against Olsen in coverage but they both will be needed in spying Cam Newton, and potentially keying in on Christian McCaffrey who the Panthers like to use all over the field.
This is the kind of game where having Douglas is big. Douglas is the biggest, lengthiest secondary member for the Eagles and that was a huge part of the defense’s success last season against the Panthers, who used big receivers like Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin.
He probably had his best game of 2017 against Carolina.
Douglas will struggle to keep up with quicker receivers in space but he matches up well with a bigger receiver like Funchess. Here, Douglas is all over Funchess jamming him from separating across the middle.
On Douglas’s interception, a lot of this play resulted in Fletcher Cox getting to Newton up the middle. However, Douglas does a great job jamming Funchess on the line which allows him to stay inside and line himself up in perfect position to intercept the pass.
That is a 6’4 receiver he forced back.
On this deep attempt to Benjamin, Douglas is left one on one and does a great job not only reading the double move, but also creating contact and slowing down Benjamin from getting near the ball. If this was Darby on the outside making contact, Benjamin might blow through him and get open. Douglas is big enough to absorb and match Benjamin’s contact.
Not a lot of corners can go up with a 6’5 corner and match his length at the catch point on a fade.
Funchess scored a touchdown off a jump ball in the red zone last week and if Darby is the corner in coverage, Funchess would have five inches on him.
Even if the Eagles use Douglas as a safety, he will be important against Funchess. If the Panthers give him chances down the field to come up with a contested pass, Douglas being over the top to help Darby or Mills contest could help in a big way.
Overall for his first start at safety, the West Virginia product did a solid job of taking away space for Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants receivers down the field.
We will have to wait until Sunday to see what the Eagles do with Douglas, but without a lot of healthy bodies in the secondary, he will see plenty of playing time.
It was Avonte Maddox Mania around Eagles Nation after the 30-23 upset victory in LA. The rookie was a main reason the Eagles season is still alive. Who else is trending upward after LA? Who’s stock took a hit?
Louie dives into how the Eagles can do damage in a surprisingly underwhelming NFC conference, where Maddox will lineup in the secondary next year, and brings you our weekly “Stock Up, Stock Down” segment on the Locked on Eagles podcast!
From dog masks to ski masks
With the season on the line, on the road, against one of the best teams in the NFL, Nick Foles and the Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive with a 30-23 victory against the Rams.
How was Jim Schwartz able to hold one of the top offenses in the league to 23 points?
How does Nick Foles keep pulling off the impossible?
Will he be the guy the rest of the reason including perhaps playoffs?
Louie and Gino break down the memorable victory over the Rams.
No easy way out
By Lars Lewis
The term ‘No Easy Way Out’ refers to a song by Robert Tepper from a famous movie involving a couple key factors that relate to what was witnessed Sunday night in Los Angeles.
One factor, a fighter from Philadelphia whose back is against the wall and senses the walls closing in as he encounters the other factor, a cyborg-like monster who has wiped out essentially any sort of defense that’s faced him.
Yes, there was a lot of Rocky IV in this game and I’ll explain why.
It seemed the Eagles, who had once again called upon their Rocky Balboa in Nick Foles, longed for one more puncher’s chance against a foe that could certainly put away their faint playoff hopes for good.
We’re not indestructible,
Baby better get that straight
I think it’s unbelievable
How you give into the hands of fate
So you figured out the first piece of the puzzle, but what about that certain monster who loomed so large over Rocky physically but also mentally?
Yeah, that was Ivan Drago, and Sean McVay fits him to a tee.
I mean think about it. Blonde, spiky hair, blue eyes, chiseled face, and a borderline unfair amount of gifts both possess(ed). Drago’s superhuman power and technique coincides with McVay’s absurd memory that teeters between scary and let’s face it, rather annoying.
Doug Pederson, following the highest of highs last season when he beat Lord Palpa…err I mean Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl, has never faced the kind of scrutiny the way he’s had this year and especially leading into the game Sunday.
I see all the angry faces
Afraid that could be you and me
Talkin about what might have been
I’m thinkin about what I used to be
When it got to game time in the L.A. Coliseum, just like Rocky when he walked to the ring in Moscow, the Eagles knew they were fueled by a burning desire set ablaze through a heartbreaking defeat in Dallas coinciding with Rocky’s loss of Apollo in the film.
Foles throughout the first three quarters resembled the Foles we all saw on that fateful February night, hitting Alshon Jeffrey for big gains, moving it up and down the field and consistently getting into the red-zone to allow his trio of running backs to do their damage.
“You see he’s not a machine! He’s a man!” Tony “Duke” Evers
The Rams as the Chicago Bears proved last week, are indeed human and Foles, along with a sterling performance from Jim Schwartz’ defense for most of the night, has assured Rocko one more round as they play Houston and then close the season in D.C for maybe, just maybe, a second shot at the title.
There’s no easy way out there’s no shortcut home