Last season, "next man up" was the most commonly used mantra to come from the Eagles' locker room. When players like Jordan Hicks, Carson Wentz, Darren Sproles, Jason Peters, and Chris Maragos went down, the next player in line stepped up.
That was once again the case in Thursday night's season-opening 18-12 win over Atlanta. When Ronald Darby had to come off the field early in the fourth quarter due to cramping, second-year cornerback Rasul Douglas filled the void in a big way, coming away with his third career interception.
"Darby was cramping on the drive before, and I went to take him out and he said he was good," Douglas explained after the game. "He was like 'Nah, I'm OK.' On the next drive he was like, 'Hey come get me. I'm cramping.' I got in and just read the route and came up with the interception."
Selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of West Virginia, Douglas has proven to be a pivotal depth player in the Eagles' secondary. Whenever he's been called upon to play, he's stepped up and answered.
"Last year, I wasn't playing, wasn't dressed," said Douglas. "I was watching the Redskins game Week 1, and Darby went down, and I was like you're the next guy up so be ready to play. Even when I'm practicing, I'm always watching Darby and Jalen Mills, even watching film. I'm always watching them and studying them and studying the plays the guys are running so that If I do by any chance have to go in and play, I'm still ready."
Douglas' interception was just one example of the Eagles' stellar red zone defense on Thursday night. The Falcons went just 1-for-5 in red zone opportunities, including three drives that ended at the Eagles' 1-, 3-, and 5-yard lines, resulting in just three points.
The bend but don't break defensive mentality also carried over from 2017.
"We just try not to give up (anything)," said Douglas. "Yeah, we can bend, but we're not going to break. When it comes to the red zone, we know we have to get a stop, especially in that situation where we're only up six points and a touchdown wins the game."
Take a look at all the photos from the Philadelphia Eagles' home opener against the Atlanta Falcons to kick off the 2018 season.