Losing Key Contributor to Contender Keeps Haunting Cardinals

Getty Images Rasul Douglas reacts after the Los Angeles Rams turned the ball during the first half on November 28, 2021.

During the Week 12 bye, the 9-2 Arizona Cardinals didn’t get much help in terms of gaining ground for the No. 1 seed.

Yes, the Los Angeles Rams lost, which increases the Cardinals’ divisional lead to two games. But, the Rams lost to the Green Bay Packers, who are just .5 game back of the Cardinals.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won and are 1.5 games in back of the Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys drop to two games back after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving.

So overall, the Cardinals still have work to do as there are six remaining games on the regular-season schedule. Health is the most important component, who are hoping to get back Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins in Week 13.

Unfortunately, one player stood out for one contending team on November 28 that could further hurt the Cardinals moving forward. And it’s a familiar name.

Contender Benefits From Cardinals

With the number of injuries and COVID situations for Arizona in 2021, it’s never bad to have the depth for a position. If the Cardinals were to lose starting corners Byron Murphy or Robert Alford, they’d have a worry on their hands.

On September 3, the Cardinals signed veteran cornerback Rasul Douglas to the practice squad.

But a little more than a month later, the Packers signed Douglas off Arizona’s practice squad.

Now, the 26-year-old is making huge contributions. And we all know the payback Douglas gave to Arizona after catching a game-winning interception from miscommunication by Murray and A.J. Green.

Douglas also had a career game against the Rams on Sunday with a 91.2 PFF defensive grade and a total of four pass breakups, including his pick-six and a dropped interception shortly before the touchdown.

With Kevin King out with a shoulder injury, Douglas has filled in marvelously. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers scoffs at the fact Douglas was available on a practice squad.

“It’s like you say the same thing all the time when you’re talking about Rasul. How was this guy on the practice squad?” Rodgers said. “The dude has made so many plays for us. He’s got great instincts, good ball skills, opportunistic plays or us.”

Douglas, a third-round pick in 2017, won a Super Bowl ring with the Philadelphia Eagles and was an important fixture in their run with his special teams’ work. Douglas played an impressive 46 games in a three-year span. He also started in two playoff games in their 2018 postseason.

But this isn’t just the Cardinals who let Douglas go. He signed with the Raiders in free agency but failed to make the roster. Then, he signed with the Houston Texans before he joined Arizona’s practice squad.

The veteran corner has tons of credit to go around.

“It’s big. I think I give the defense and the coaches (the credit),” Douglas said. “They put me in a position where I can make plays and allow me to make plays. It really is all on them, all the coaches. They put me in position.”

Context to Situation

Douglas is becoming one of the best cover corners in the NFL and was a monster pickup for the Packers.

The Packers lost starting corner Jaire Alexander while the Cardinals decided there was no spot on the roster for Douglas. That pivoted the Packers to make a move for the defensive back.

Despite losing Douglas, the Cardinals still have a great starting tandem with third-year Murphy and 33-year-old Alford. But after the two, it gets questionable with lack of experience with rookie Marco Wilson and Antonio Hamilton.

You can easily point to the record and say the Cardinals have done a tremendous job with adversity and are only going to get better with the talent they’re getting back from injury. That would be 100% accurate.

But despite all the positives, losing a depth piece like Douglas to a team they’re up against in a top-heavy conference is a miss that isn’t being said enough. Especially if the Cardinals have to play the Packers again.

“I knew I was gonna get a pick, just based off my film and me being here (Arizona),” Douglas after his game-winning interception.

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