What does a Rasul Douglas return mean to the Carolina Panthers?
By Dean Jones
Rasul Douglas’ return is a major boost for the Carolina Panthers.
If there was ever a game where the Carolina Panthers needed the services of Rasul Douglas, it’s their Week 9 outing at the Kansas City Chiefs. The cornerback was sorely missed last time out, but he should be raring to go in the face of an exceptional passing attack on Sunday.
Douglas was officially activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, which is a timely boost to the Carolina Panthers. Having their best cover cornerback in the lineup is going to be crucial at Arrowhead Stadium, with the Chiefs boasting dynamic weapons everywhere you look.
The Panthers made a shrewd move by bringing Douglas to the organization after he didn’t do enough to make the 53-man roster of the Philadelphia Eagles. Their loss was definitely Carolina’s gain, with the former third-round pick giving up just 18 receptions from 30 targets during the first half of the campaign.
There isn’t a significant amount of depth at the cornerback spot, which was heightened further by the decision to release Eli Apple following the player’s decision to not take part in practice due to an ongoing hamstring problem. No. 1 option Donte Jackson is also dealing with a toe issue that has hampered his influence in recent weeks, which makes it even more essential that Douglas is on the field.
Just how important Douglas is at the Chiefs cannot be measured. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal and it won’t take long before the signal-caller pinpoints the weak link in Carolina’s secondary and targets it accordingly.
Judging by what we’ve seen so far, that will not be Douglas.
The Carolina Panthers face a daunting task on Sunday.
It’s hard to figure out how Douglas wasn’t good enough to even make the rotation in Philadelphia. His physicality in press coverage is matched by superb anticipation that has come with some big plays to assist an improving defense. But this is the stiffest challenge of the season so far by a considerable margin.
There isn’t anything you can do to limit the Chiefs altogether. The likes of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, and first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire are all capable of turning a game on its head. And the recent addition of Le’Veon Bell is another intriguing element to their passing and running attacks that shouldn’t be overlooked.
It promises to be a daunting task for Douglas and the Panthers, who opened as 12-point underdogs. Hopefully, Christian McCaffrey is making a return. But that is not going to help the defense from the inevitable barrage coming their way.
If Douglas can hold his own yet again in this one, it is going to do his chances of a multi-year extension at the end of the campaign the world of good. Carolina would be a lot worse off without the West Virginia product and getting him back after missing just one game is a massive bonus.