Rasul Douglas, standing at his locker Wednesday, was asked how much he's improved since the start of training camp, and he made a sound kind of like, "Pfffshew."
Then he shook his head and said, "No comparison."
Douglas, the Eagles' rookie third-round cornerback from West Virginia, will likely make his NFL debut Sunday when the Eagles face the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Douglas was inactive for the win over the Redskins, but with Ronald Darby out for at least a month with a dislocated ankle, there's a good chance Douglas will play a significant role this weekend.
"I'm ready," he said. "When I came here, I was all over the place. Wasn’t technique sound. Now I got a lot better. Cory (Undlin, secondary coach) has worked with me, the guys in the room have worked with me, I’ve worked with B-Dawk after practice, worked with a lot of guys after practice, so I’ve just gotten better since I’ve gotten here."
When Darby went down early in the second quarter in Washington, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz moved slot corner Patrick Robinson outside and used a combination of Jaylen Watkins and Corey Graham in the slot.
Schwartz wouldn't reveal his plan for Sunday, but he could use that lineup again, or he could leave Robinson in the slot, where he's grown comfortable since moving inside a few weeks ago and use Douglas outside.
Or Robinson and Jalen Mills could start outside and in nickel, Robinson would move inside and Douglas would move outside.
There are a lot of possibilities and most of them involve some sort of role for Douglas.
"He's an improving player," Schwartz said. "He made a lot of strides from the beginning of training camp until the end of training camp. Like a lot of rookie players, it slowed down at some point for him. Early on he was inundated with all the new things and everything else, and then at the end, it was able to go a little bit slower for him.
"Very competitive. You saw that in the preseason games. He's long, he can get his hands on the football and he's tough. He'll tackle. I thought he had a very good training camp after a slow start."
You could see Douglas get better with each passing week. But his projected role definitely took a hit when the Eagles went out and acquired Darby in the Jordan Matthews trade on Aug. 11.
He said Brian Dawkins, who is in the Eagles' scouting department, had some valuable advice for him.
"Just picking his brain is great," he said. "Pro Bowl guy, one of the best safeties to ever play the game.
"He told me always understand the 'why.' 'Why does Schwartz call this defense or why are you playing outside leverage and not inside leverage,' stuff like that."
Douglas also has the luxury of a Pro Bowler with a Super Bowl ring in the meeting room every day in Malcolm Jenkins.
"Malc helped me learn that when the offensive guys are coming out of the huddle, see route concepts or what they might run or who’s coming out to your side and what route does he always run and things like that," he said.
"So when I get into my stance, I have a glimpse of what’s going on or what’s about to happen."
Douglas' career arc has paralleled Mills' in a lot of ways. Mills did play last year in the opener, but only 12 snaps on defense. But he went on to average 43 snaps after that, and by the end of the year, was a pretty solid cornerback.
Mills is now a starter and has been impressed with Douglas's improvement.
“He’s a lot better," he said. "Coming to OTAs, you see him kind of confused, not really sure of himself. Then, in camp, you see him breaking up passes. Even in preseason, he could have had two pick-sixes. You just see him developing and growing.
"Me, being in that same spot last year, I kind of smile in the background and tell him good job here and there, but he’s grown, for sure. …
"He's 6-2, big aggressive guy, like to make plays on the ball. He did that at West Virginia and he’s doing it here. He’ll be ready if he gets a chance to go out there."
And if he gets beat? Like every young cornerback gets beat at some point?
“Just tell him you’ve got to trust yourself, regardless," Mills said. "Those guys get paid to catch the ball. If they catch the ball, good one. One for the bad guys.
"But you’ve got to pick yourself up and go play the next play."