When head coach Doug Pederson announced Monday that cornerback Ronald Darby would miss the remainder of the 2018 season with an ACL tear, it became next man up once again for the Eagles' defense.
With cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones sidelined due to injury, the Eagles' depth will be tested in the secondary. And for cornerback Rasul Douglas, it's his chance to make his mark.
"I guess it's all I've been waiting for," Douglas said. "Not really, but just winning and playing, it's been it. I'm kind of sad that my guy has gone down. He was having a good year. It's tough."
Douglas started and played 97 percent of the defensive snaps on Sunday against the Cowboys while also getting on the field for 32 percent of special teams snaps. He finished with eight total tackles and one tackle for loss.
When Darby and Jalen Mills were starting at outside cornerback, he said that he prepares like a starter each week and enjoys coming in off the bench and being targeted immediately. A play like that against the Falcons in Week 1 is how he came up with the Eagles' only interception at home this year. Now, he will the starting outside corner for the foreseeable future.
"It's just next man up," Douglas said. "You need to practice like you've got to go out from the beginning and then when it happens, just fall right in place."
In 23 career games, the second-year cornerback out of West Virginia has six starts. He has 39 career solo tackles in that time as well as three interceptions and 15 pass deflections.
When asked about Douglas, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz chose to judge the starters on defense as a group after Sunday night's loss instead. After the Eagles gave up 270 receiving yards, 171 rushing yards, and three touchdowns with no takeaways, he wasn't complimentary of anyone.
"He played like a 27-20 loss. That's the way the team played, that's the way the defense played, and that's the way he played," Schwartz said. "We all need to play better. We need to play the pass better and we need to tackle better."
"He's got a lot of pride and confidence," he added. "He'll bounce back from it."
Douglas took a similar approach and said that he and his teammates need to work on "everything" on the defensive side of the ball because they're losing. But he wasn't willing to give up hope on turning things around.
"I think we did OK as a group," Douglas said. "Our record speaks to that. OK. So, we've got to pick it up but we still have games, still four in our division, so it's still good.
"We know we can play better, we know we still have better in us, but at the end of the day, until we put it out on the field, we're just OK."
The challenge for Douglas and the secondary is now taking on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints who boast the top scoring offense in the league with 36.7 points per game. Brees has 21 touchdown passes this season with just one interception going against a shorthanded Eagles secondary that has just four interceptions all year.
The Eagles are hoping to get Jones back on the field in time for New Orleans to play on the outside with Douglas. They are less optimistic about Mills playing this week. During the game and especially in practice, Douglas will be expected to lead the cornerbacks into a tough battle.
"They're the hottest team in the NFL," Douglas said. "Their offense is pretty good, I haven't seen anyone stop them on film yet. They've got a great quarterback in Drew Brees who can make all the throws. So, it's going to be a big test. We just need to be locked in and go down there ready to play."
This week presents a big challenge but also a big opportunity for Douglas. As a starter for possibly a few weeks, an impressive performance could mean more playing time for Douglas going forward. But while Douglas can prove his worth, his focus is on the team's performance rather than his as an individual.
"I just want to win," Douglas said. "I honestly don't care about anything else. If I played 10 snaps in a game but we win, I can go home happy knowing that I helped in practice on the scout team or did by my job when I got in for those 10 plays. I think that's the only thing that really matters for all the guys in this locker room."