As unexpected as it might be, rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas could play a significant role against the Giants.
The optimism remains that safety Rodney McLeod and cornerback Jaylen Watkins make it back for Sunday's game. If not, Douglas will need to have another solid performance like he did against Kansas City with cornerback Ronald Darby sidelined as well. Douglas made a big third-down pass breakup early in the fourth quarter which forced a punt. For the majority of the game, he held his own playing almost 75 percent of the team's snaps on defense.
"I'm trying to prove myself. This is where I belong. I can be the guy I was at West Virginia here. I can be the guy. I've always been a guy that gets turnovers, a guy that can be the best," Douglas said. "That's what I'm just trying to prove to myself that I can be the best."
Douglas' eight interceptions tied for the most in the NCAA last year, but the third-round pick faced a steep learning curve after being drafted. During Training Camp, Douglas's technique was far from sound and his skills needed improvement. He credited the entire defensive backs unit for being ready when called upon last Sunday.
"We prepare hard and then we've got vets that have been in this league for 10 years," Douglas said. "Malcolm's (Jenkins) not about the let any of us make this defense look bad. We're not going to do that and he's not going to let us do that. Rodney's not going to let us do that. CG (Corey Graham) not going to let us do that, Pat (Patrick Robinson). They're not about to let us get out there and not know what we're doing. Not know what calls we're in. Not playing right. They're just not going to let us."
At times, the secondary has called 6 a.m. meetings before practice to review and watch film. The level of accountability and expectation to perform at a high level is the constant focal point within the group.
"They want everything to be 'OK, get your mistakes out the first day in practice when we're running through stuff. After that, you don't get any more mistakes,'" Douglas said. "They'll say, 'This practice we need 10 turnovers, we need this and we need that. Go get it.' That's how we've got to be every day. No MEs: no mess-ups. Everybody knows what call we're in. That's just how those guys operate. They're professionals."
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz commended Douglas for not showing mental errors and playing physical at Arrowhead Stadium. Against the Giants, it may be the young tandem of second-year cornerback Jalen Mills and rookie Douglas matching up against Odell Beckham Jr. Safety Malcolm Jenkins stated that this cornerback group may be the youngest he's ever played with - and he's not concerned.
"If you get beat, you get beat. It's going to happen. You're a corner. But if you get beat because you don't know what you were in? Then that's a problem," Douglas said. "We're young but we're all workers. All of us work. We help each other get better. We're going to be here for a while, hopefully, together. Once it gets clicking, we're going to be scary."
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