Rasul Douglas

Terrell Owens' HOF case, Eagles rookies, and more in Roob's observations

Terrell Owens' HOF case, Eagles rookies, and more in Roob's observations

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Terrell Owens' Hall of Fame chances, Eagles rookies during Super Bowl week, lots of rushing stats that fascinate me and a Mind-Boggling Nick Foles Stat of the Day that includes Chad Pennington.

That's just a taste of what's to come in our Thursday night edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles Super Bowl observations!

Sit down, relax and let the observations come to you!

1. I don't like Owens. I don't like him at all. He didn't strike me as a particularly good person during his brief stop in Philly. But the Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn't have a word in its bylaws about whether a candidate is a good person or not. It's all about production, and you just can't deny that T.O. is one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history. They put Cris Carter in the Hall of Fame, and T.O. has 2,000 more yards, 23 more touchdowns and three more first-team All-Pro seasons than Carter. Not to mention nearly 2½ yards more per catch. He's No. 2 behind Jerry Rice in receiving yards. No. 2. And you want to talk character … Carter is a convicted felon. T.O. has never been arrested. The Hall of Fame is a sham if T.O. doesn't get in. 

2. I have no idea what this means, but there have been only seven rushing touchdowns of 20 yards or more in 51 Super Bowls and only two in the last 26 Super Bowls — DeShaun Foster's 33-yarder for the Panthers against the Patriots in 2003 and Willie Parker's 75-yarder for the Steelers against the Seahawks in 2005. Two in 26 years seems really, really low. I guess that just shows that the Super Bowl is all about quarterbacks and defense. So maybe most Super Bowl teams are built around an elite quarterback and an elite defense, both of which could neutralize big-time running back play.

3. No Eagle rushed for more than 44 rushing yards in either of their Super Bowls. Brian Westbrook and Wilbert Montgomery both ran for 44. Jay Ajayi is going to double that Sunday.

4. Interesting also that the Patriots haven't had anybody rush for more than 44 yards in their last four Super Bowls. In fact, their pass-run ratio in their seven Super Bowls under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is 334 pass plays and 162 runs. That's a 67-33 ratio. I wouldn't be surprised if Dion Lewis and James White are more involved in the passing game Sunday than the running game. 

5. I don't know what Chris Long's future is or how long he wants to play. He hasn't speculated about it. He turns 33 in March and is in his 11th year in the NFL and his second Super Bowl in a row. I do know that I've never seen a veteran player make as much of an impact as Long has both on the field and off the field in such a short time. The Byron "Whizzer" White Community MVP Award that Long received Thursday is an extraordinary honor, and I can't think of anybody more deserving (see story).

6. I was really impressed by the way all the Eagles handled the Super Bowl media the last four days but in particular the rookies. Guys like Mack Hollins, Derek Barnett, Rasul Douglas and Corey Clement are kids, and I can't imagine being 21, 22, 23 and all of a sudden being thrust into the middle of the most hyped sports event in the world. It speaks volumes about their character and also speaks volumes about the Eagles' veteran leaders who got them ready for all this. Those guys spent a lot of time last week really preparing the younger guys on the team for what they were about to experience. And it definitely paid off. I've always felt this was a really smart, focused, mature team. They played that way all year and behaved that way this week.

7. I find it fascinating that Doug Pederson never mentions Andy Reid. 

8. What do you guys think the odds are that the Replacements will make a surprise halftime appearance backing Justin Timberlake Sunday? This is Minneapolis. How about a halftime All-Star jam with Timberlake singing "Cry me a River" backed by the Replacements, Timbaland, Lil Wayne, Nelly Furtado, Bob Mould, Ringo Starr, Soul Asylum, Christina Aguilera and Rick Aguilera? Maybe?

9. Mind-Boggling Nick Foles Stat of the Day: Foles is the only quarterback in NFL history to have three playoff games with a 69 percent completion percentage or higher and no interceptions before his 30th birthday. Only five others even had two — Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Pennington. (Pennington?) And only 13 others even had one. So there have been a total of 26 such performances in NFL history by quarterbacks in their 20s and Foles has three of them.

10. Here's a fascinating stat that is certainly relevant this year, considering the Eagles' running back rotation: There have been 25 teams in history that had two different running backs with 10 or more carries in a Super Bowl. Those 25 teams went 22-3 — and two of the teams that lost faced a team that also had two double-digit ball-carriers. Here's the full list, with losing teams in italics:

1966 Packers: Jim Taylor (17-56), Elijah Pitts (11-45)
1967 Packers: Ben Wilson (17-62), Donny Anderson (14-48)
1968 Jets: Matt Snell (30-121), Emerson Boozer (10-19)
1969 Chiefs: Warren McVea (12-26), Mike Garrett (11-39)
1970 Colts: Norm Bulaich (18-28), Tom Nowatzke (10-33)
1970 Cowboys: Duane Thomas (18-35), Walt Garrison (12-65)
1971 Cowboys: Duane Thomas (19-95), Walt Garrison (14-74)
1972 Dolphins: Jim Kiick (12-38), Mercury Morris (10-34), Larry Csonka (15-112)
1972 Redskins: Larry Brown (22-72), Charlie Harraway (10-37)
1973 Dolphins: Larry Csonka (33-145), Mercury Morris (11-34)
1974 Steelers: Franco Harris (34-158), Rocky Bleier (17-65)
1975 Steelers: Franco Harris (27-82), Rocky Bleier (15-51)
1976 Raiders: Mark van Eeghen (18-73), Clarence Davis (16-138), Pete Banaszak (10-19)
1977 Cowboys: Tony Dorsett (15-66), Robert Newhouse (14-55)
1979 Steelers: Franco Harris (20-46), Rocky Bleier (10-25)
1984 49ers: Roger Craig (15-58), Wendell Tyler (13-65)
1985 Bears: Walter Payton (22-61), Matt Suhey (11-52)
1989 49ers: Roger Craig (20-69), Tom Rathman (11-38)
1991 Redskins: Earnest Byner (14-49), Ricky Ervins (13-72)
1992 Bills: Kenneth Davis (15-86), Thurman Thomas (11-19)
1996 Packers: Edgar Bennett (17-40), Dorsey Levens (14-61)
2002 Buccaneers: Mike Alstott (10-15), Michael Pittman (29-124) 
2005 Steelers: Jerome Bettis (14-43), Willie Parker (10-93)
2007 Colts: Dominic Rhodes (21-113), Joseph Addai (19-77)
2012 Ravens: Ray Rice (20-59), Bernard Pierce (12-33)

Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

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USA Today Images

Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

Rasul Douglas made a huge play during the special teams portion of Wednesday's practice. Going 1-on-1 against veteran special teamer Najee Goode, the Eagles' rookie plowed through him and sent Goode to the turf inside the practice bubble. 

Goode bounced up and locked down the next rep, but for a few seconds, there was pure exuberance on the practice field. A bunch of Douglas' teammates ran toward him and celebrated, while coaches gave him kudos. 

A couple hours later, Douglas didn't even remember it. 

"What play?" the rookie asked. 

After making sure he was serious, out came an iPhone to show Douglas this video: 

"Oh, I don't even remember that," he said. 

While Douglas might have been locked in and focused enough to forget about the most exciting play during the open portion of Wednesday's practice, it was the kind of play that got the whole team going. 

Without remembering the specific instance, Douglas rightly guessed that it was his defensive back teammates, who ran over to congratulate him and celebrate. 

"We get so happy when one of us makes a play because we work hard and we know our goals in our room," Douglas said. "And we know our energy transforms and just passes along to other people. You can get somebody energized and they get somebody else energized." 

Head coach Doug Pederson elected to have his team in pads Wednesday in an effort to keep the team's intensity and physicality high as the team gets ready for the NFC Championship Game. 

That play helped. 

"I think Coach Pederson talks about it all the time; match his intensity," linebacker Nate Gerry said. "So when you see something like that, I guess that's matching the intensity. It just kind of sets the tone for practice."

During the Eagles' first-round bye, the team's players council went to Pederson and asked for an extra day in pads. Pederson planned on one leading into the divisional round game against the Falcons, but his veteran leaders didn't want to go an extra week without that intensity, so the Eagles strapped on their pads. 

They did it again last week and they did it again Wednesday. 

All season the Eagles have believed they're going to play the way they practice, so it shouldn't be much of a shocker. Pederson and the Eagles — despite all the hoopla around the championship — tried to treat Wednesday like any other Wednesday. In part, that meant getting the pads on and going through a tough practice. 

"We ain't going to play on Sunday without pads, so you just have keep in tune with what you do," Douglas said. "I think pads are good." 

Rasul Douglas won't let himself be forgotten

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USA Today Images

Rasul Douglas won't let himself be forgotten

The perfect gameplan for Rasul Douglas’ rookie season was to let him slowly develop behind more seasoned vets in the Eagles' defensive backfield, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Douglas was thrown into the NFL fire early and often.

When Ronald Darby dislocated his right ankle in the season opener in Washington, Douglas was the next man up. The third-round pick out of West Virginia played 39 of the Eagles' 53 defensive snaps against Kansas City the following week. That was an early omen as Douglas would average 42 snaps over his first eight professional games. 

For the most part, Douglas held his own and made plays in between the typical rookie mistakes here and there, but he earned the praise of his defensive backs coach, Cory Undlin. But after playing 37 snaps in a Week 9 romp over Denver, all of a sudden Douglas disappeared from the cornerback rotation. The snap counts over his next six games after the win over the Broncos: zero vs. Dallas, 11 vs. Chicago, one vs. Seattle, zero vs. Los Angeles, inactive vs. New York and four against Oakland. 

Douglas won't fall into the mindset that he's a forgotten entity.

"You just gotta try to stay up, keep preparing as if you’re the starter," Douglas said after the regular-season finale vs. the Cowboys. "You don’t really get those reps in practice. You just gotta take advantage of the reps you do get and get better in those."

With Doug Pederson's deciding to give a number of his starters most of Sunday’s meaningless game vs. Dallas off, Douglas finally was back in the mix. He played all 68 snaps against the Cowboys. 

It was a bone-chilling day at Lincoln Financial Field, but for a guy who had played just 16 snaps the previous six games, it didn’t take long for him to find his footing. He was satisfied with his overall game except for the lone score given up, which he was responsible for on a 20-yard strike from Dak Prescott to Brice Butler. 

"It was cold out there, but I didn’t feel rusty at all," said Douglas, who's amassed 25 tackles and two picks on the season. "You gotta get your feet back together, get your groove on, how you do stuff and you’re fine. We were in zero coverage and [Butler] was giving me double moves. Then he ran a slant and I gave it up. That’s on me. I can’t let anyone get outside. But I'd rather them throw a fade instead of a slant."
 
It’s yet to be determined how much Douglas will be used in the playoffs, if any. But his approach will not waver. 

“I just gotta keep working every day I come to practice, just do like I’ve been doing," Douglas said. "Pick something to get better at and improve as I can."