Eagles fans who’ve been clamoring to see Rasul Douglas at safety got their wish Thursday night.
With good results.
Douglas, who’s been exclusively the Eagles’ third outside cornerback his two years here, got his first taste of safety Thursday night during the Eagles’ 34-13 win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
With Rodney McLeod out for the year with a knee injury and Corey Graham inactive with a hamstring injury, the Eagles were already down two defensive backs for the Giants.
That number increased to three when Sidney Jones suffered a hamstring injury late in the first quarter.
That’s when Douglas – who hadn’t played or practiced at safety since he was at West Virginia — became the Eagles’ newest free safety.
“I’ll play any position,” Douglas said. “Snapper, it doesn’t matter. If I’m helping the team win, it doesn’t matter.”
Douglas wound up playing 42 snaps and held his own.
“I’ve been taking mental reps since last year,” Douglas said. “Been watching (Malcolm) Jenkins and Rodney and always like to see what they do just so when I’m at corner I know how they’re going to help me and things like that.
“But maybe a week ago I started playing around on scout team and took some reps.”
But defensive reps?
This is how the Eagles won a Super Bowl last year. Guys coming off the bench to replace injured teammates with little or no drop-off.
That became the personality of the team, and Douglas was part of it when he started four games — all wins -— in place of injured Ronald Darby.
Howie Roseman likes drafting defensive backs who have both safety and cornerback skills, and defensive backs coach Cory Undlin cross-trains all his guys to play anywhere.
“Sidney goes down and Rasul is back at safety, who got zero reps, and he performed well, didn’t have any mental errors,” Jenkins said. “That’s not easy at all.
“The gameplan required him to make a lot of calls and he did well to come in in that situation.”
At one point, Jalen Mills left the game, and Tre Sullivan came in at safety and Douglas moved to corner for three snaps.
It was that kind of day. But the young secondary held up well.
“Rasul is a guy that we can plug in anywhere,” Mills said. “We’ve done it in practice, (now) we did it in a game. As far as what position, he can play all four of them.”
Douglas is a really underrated young defensive back.
He’s got a couple interceptions already in limited playing time, and he’s one of those guys who never complains, no matter what his role, no matter how much or how little he plays, no matter what he’s asked to do.
He’s going to be a starter at some point. Right now, he’s a big piece of the puzzle.
It looks like Jones might miss a game or two, and the Eagles have some other options when Maddox moves to the slot. Sullivan is a natural safety and could wind up at free safety, and Deiondre’ Hall is also on the roster.
“Going forward we've got to get everybody prepared,” Doug Pederson said. “Rasul is capable, obviously, we've seen that. But we also have guys now with Tre being active and Deiondre' Hall and guys that we can begin to really coach up with the amount of time we have before (the Panthers game).”
Sullivan and Hall are safeties by trade, but the way Douglas hung in there at a new position is going to make that decision an interesting one.
“It’s cool back there,” Douglas said. “It’s just angles. When you’re coming downhill, the angles are way different than at corner.
“At corner, the play is right there, and just make the tackle. At safety, guy’s running and you’ve got to know where the linebacker’s at and adjust off of it and I’ve got to improve on that, and when I do that I’ll be fine.”