The talk of the off-season since Darius Slay was acquired was “who will be CB2 across from Slay?” Answers were spread between Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills (even after he was announced as safety), and Cre’Von LeBlanc. Not many people were mentioning Rasul Douglas as being a member of the 2020 Eagles. That may not be the case for long.
There were a multitude of articles and reports that Douglas was on the trading block. While that may have been true at the time, he’s still on the roster.
But while all of that chatter was going on, Rasul Douglas was working to get himself in the best position he can be to win the CB2 job.
In case you missed it, we sat down with renowned footwork coach Rischad Whitfield to talk about his work with Rasul Douglas, among others.
When talking about Douglas, Whitfield was very confident that the fourth year corner would be CB2:
I’ll tell you right now that he’s going to lock one side of the field down, Slay is going to lock the other side down, Nickell Robey-Coleman is going to lock down slot corner. It’s going to be really hard for people to throw on the Eagles.
For Douglas, according to Whitfield, his issues weren’t purely on his speed, they were on his mechanics and movement:
It’s just a movement issue with him. He was too low in his stance, I raised him up a little bit. I shortened up his stance. He was too heavy-footed. I had to raise him up, man, his DB coach [Undlin] had him too low. He had him way too low. If you look a Slay, he’s almost standing up. Rasul’s like, ‘I need to be like that’.
When you look at the film, it backs up that claim.
Here he is trying to defend Davante Adams. Before you go “well no one can really defend him”, I know. But it’s more to see his technique:
As you can see at the bottom of the screen, Douglas starts very bent in his knees and has a slow shuffle when Adams starts his route. He’s immediately beaten and has to use his hands on Adams in an attempt to make up for what he lost at the LOS, thus resulting in a DPI. His hips also move in a rounded motion, whereas they should be pivoting. If you turn your hips in a rounded motion, they take longer to square up. If you pivot sharply, you’re in position much quicker.
Below you can see what Rischad was working on with Douglas:
Keeping the trend going with his hips, Rasul oftentimes did not open up the correct way, instead, he would turn closed. This would greatly hamper his ability to recover from double moves and be able to get back to the ball/receiver. His foot speed has also been in question, but oftentimes it was his leg drives that caused his feet to be so slow. Look at this play on Amari Cooper:
As you can see, he doesn’t get his feet set at the start of the snap, thus setting himself up to fail off that bat. Once he hits on that double move, he closes to chase instead of opening. If he swings his right hip back instead of having it come around like he does above, he’s in a better position to chase. I’m not saying he makes the play, but he gives himself a better chance of success.
Here’s how he’s working on that:
Will all of this training pay off? Rasul has been playing over 200 lbs the last few years, but Whitfield says he’ll be under that number come training camp:
I’ll make sure that by training camp, and we have a lot of time, he’ll be moving the best of his career. He won’t be playing at 205 lbs, he’ll be closer to 195 lbs.
Since 2012, only one cornerback has more interceptions that Douglas’ five for the Eagles (Darby). Quarterbacks have been picking on him for his entire his career, but he’s putting himself in a position to make them pay.
When talking about the CB2 position, don’t forget Rasul Douglas.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com, NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC