Rasul Douglas was walking out of the visiting locker room at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday and Mychal Kendricks jumped up from his locker and started walking with the 22-year-old rookie.
"You were great out there, man," the sixth-year linebacker said . "Like, dude. You played really, really well. You were ballin' out there."
Douglas looked stone-faced but Kendricks kept it up.
"I LIKE the way you played. You got after it, bro. Liked it. Liked it, man."
Finally Douglas cracked a huge smile. Yeah, the Eagles lost, but Douglas enjoyed an auspicious NFL debut Sunday when forced into action after Jaylen Watkins left the Eagles-Chiefs game with a hamstring injury.
He played 39 of 53 defensive snaps, and according to Pro Football Focus graded out as the ninth-highest cornerback in the league on Sunday.
“I was more anxious than nervous. Just some butterflies," Douglas said. "After the first couple series, I was like, 'Man, this is where I’m supposed to be.'"
Matched up much of the afternoon with explosive Tyreek Hill, he allowed four catches but for only 22 yards with only five yards after the catch, according to PFF.
He was physical and tackled very well and didn't seem to have any significant breakdowns. Hill, who had a 7-for-133 line in the opener vs. the Patriots, finished Sunday with four catches for 43 yards.
"I felt like I played OK," Douglas said. "It’s never as good as you think, it’s never as bad as you think. Just have to watch film and get better."
The Eagles played most of the game Sunday down three defensive backs, with Ronald Darby out indefinitely with an ankle injury and Watkins and safety Rodney McLeod both out for at least the day with hamstrings.
But the patchwork secondary, with Malcolm Jenkins and Corey Graham at safety and Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and Douglas at corner, played tough.
Considering it was his first career game, Douglas's performance was impressive.
"Rasul stepped in and I thought he did a good job," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "He tackled well and made no mental mistakes and that’s a tough duty against what they do offensively, from read option to reverses to shovel passes to jet sweeps to all the different stuff, and it’s a lot of moving parts, and I was proud of him for that part of it."
The Eagles allowed only two pass plays over 20 yards, but both were damaging — Alex Smith's 44-yarder to tight end Travis Kelce on the opening drive to set up a field goal (that was before Douglas entered the game) and Smith's 35-yarder to Chris Conley, who beat Mills, on the Chiefs' final touchdown drive.
Considering the state of the Eagles' secondary, it was a welcome performance.
"That’s the game," Jenkins said. "We understand that injuries happen, that’s why (other) guys prepare.
"Honestly, we didn’t feel like we missed a step. Obviously, to lose a Rodney McLeod is tough, same thing with Jaylen Watkins, he’s our guy we can move around, but Rasul Douglas came in and played well, Corey Graham came in and gave us consistent snaps, he’s a veteran. So I don’t think we missed a beat on the back end."
Douglas was credited with four solo tackles, sharing the team lead with Vinny Curry and Jenkins, and he was credited with one pass breakup.
His tackling was exceptional. Five yards after the catch on four receptions means an average of 45 inches of YAC per reception.
"The way we played that game plan, we played off an awful lot against their receivers," Schwartz said. "It seemed every time we did get close to them we had a ball go over our heads, so we had a very concerted effort to keep them in front. That only works if you make tackles and I thought that Rasul, Jalen Mills and Jaylen Watkins when he was in the game, those guys did a good job of getting things tackled.
"You can go and play 2nd-and-3, it’s hard when it’s a 40-yard chunk or a 50-yard chunk and it’s either a touchdown or the ball’s in the red zone. It only works if you’re making those tackles.
"I’d say this: Rasul played with good anticipation. He didn’t cheat, he didn’t run down and guess. He played good technique and I was happy to see that.”
What will Douglas's role be moving forward? Tough to say. We don't know if McLeod and/or Watkins will be back for the Giants in the Eagles' home opener Sunday. And then there's Sidney Jones looming in the future as well, and the return of Darby later this fall.
But whatever the future holds, it was clearly an encouraging debut for the 6-2 rookie from West Virginia.
"Oh, it’s big," he said. "Definitely to see how (the NFL game) is. Especially going against one of the fastest players in football right now. It was definitely big for me."