LONDON – All the Eagles fans pleading with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to try Rasul Douglas for Jalen Mills at corner finally got their wish Sunday.
Mills went down with a foot injury early in the third quarter of the Eagles' 24-18 victory over the host Jacksonville Jaguars. Douglas, the 2017 rookie who started five games, has watched the team bring Dexter McDougle off the street to play ahead of him this season, Schwartz reasoning that McDougle is more suited to the nickel/slot role than Douglas. Sunday, McDougle frequently looked more suited to being out of the league, as he was when the Eagles called him up six weeks into this season.
Douglas looked OK. His first snap, Jacksonville tested him with a bomb down the left sideline, a double move by receiver Donte Moncrief, who had just burned McDougle for a 24-yard completion, which ended up tied for the Jags' second-longest gain of the day.
Moncrief did not burn Douglas – though Douglas later gave up a completion on a similar throw.
Douglas said afterward he was ready and figured he would be tested deep right away.
"He's cold, he's on the sideline, he's been sitting. You're like, 'Man put your fast guy in and run right by him. He can't run full speed. He hasn't played in the game.' I kind of knew they were going to come right at me," he said.
Douglas played no defensive snaps the week before against Carolina. He'd played no more than three in any game this season, except for the victory over the Giants, in which injuries forced Schwartz to use Douglas for 42 snaps, 65 percent of the defense's total, most of them at safety.
Douglas said he has spoken to some defensive leaders about not getting on the field, and they told him to always be ready, to keep his practice game sharp, so that if his chance came, he wouldn't blow it.
One of the veterans Douglas mentioned was the other starting corner, Ronald Darby.
"Great," Darby said, when asked how he thought Douglas did Sunday. "He's always going to have fun when he's on the field. That's one thing I love about him. And he makes plays. He's a ball hawk … He's always around the ball."
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The Jaguars, who lost their fourth game in a row after a 3-1 start, played hours after reports surfaced that four of their defensive backs were detained by London police early Saturday morning after they got into a dispute with bouncers over a bar bill.
The bill eventually was paid and no arrests were made, but obviously, this is not the look the NFL is going for on the international stage. The Jags, who were ostensibly the home team Sunday, play here every year. Public perception matters to them.
After the game, Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone first referred to a team statement that acknowledged the incident and stated that any discipline would be handled internally. Then Marrone said: "I think all those things – you know, it comes into play. … I've got to do a better job with the players. I mean, it starts with me. So whatever happens and whatever goes on, I'm responsible for it."
Marrone referred again to the statement, to a part about gathering information.
"But obviously, before we start going on the field and performing better, we've got to take a look at what we're doing all the other times, when we're in the building, out of the building, and all of those things," he said.
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The Eagles got defensive tackle Haloti Ngata back after three games missed with a calf injury, and their defensive line turned in a solid game. Michael Bennett started at defensive end, with Derek Barnett on injured reserve. … Undrafted rookie corner Chandon Sullivan, up from the practice squad, made his NFL debut, playing on special teams. … Nelson Agholor's 39-yard catch was the longest gain of the game, by either team. … Rookie running back Josh Adams ran nine times for 61 yards, by far his best outing, but he also nearly gave the game away. On review, Adams' fumble with 6:38 remaining, at the Eagles' 35, was overturned because his rear end barely grazed the ground before the ball came out. … Rookie safety Avonte Maddox forced a fumble that led to a much-needed Eagles touchdown just before halftime.