Rasul Douglas is the unlikely hero the Packers needed

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Cornerback Rasul Douglas was responsible for one of the more clutch moments in recent Green Bay Packers memory, making it even harder to believe he has been with the team for just 22 days.

When Green Bay signed Douglas off the Arizona Cardinals practice squad, no one thought much of it. Douglas was a short-term solution for injuries that were keeping corners Kevin King and Jaire Alexander out of the lineup. What the Packers needed was experience, and that is exactly what has helped Douglas be successful over the last three weeks.

“I think anytime you’re able to sign a veteran player that has experience, there’s a comfort with that,” said head coach Matt LaFleur.

Dating back to his debut against the Chicago Bears in Week 6, Douglas has played 169 snaps for Green Bay’s defense. He exited last week’s game against the Washington Football Team, only to return and continue to give the team maximum effort and a ton of grit. He was the team’s highest-graded defensive player, per Pro Football Focus.

“Just go watch the guy play, the guy competes every play,” said LaFleur.

LaFleur didn’t know much about Douglas prior to the signing. A former third-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, Douglas spent last season as a member of the Carolina Panthers. During the offseason, he bounced between the Las Vegas Raiders and Houston Texans before landing on Arizona’s practice squad a week before the start of the regular season.

Douglas had been in the league for five years, but this was his first time being on a team’s practice squad. He felt like he was working for nothing. After all, Douglas had played in 61 games prior to this year and had five interceptions in his first two NFL seasons. However, every opportunity is a welcomed sight for an NFL player, and the Packers just happened to be the right fit.

“I’m just thankful,” Douglas said.

When he arrived in Green Bay, Douglas had no idea he would possibly be facing his former team in a matter of weeks. When the night finally came, Douglas was tasked with covering wide receiver A.J. Green. Green caught two out of five targets with Douglas in coverage, as he held the seven-time Pro Bowler to just 10 receiving yards. Through three games, Douglas has been thrown at 16 times but has only allowed nine receptions for 87 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

“He’s going against some legit receivers,” LaFleur added.

Entering Week 8, the Cardinals had the No. 4 scoring offense. Against Green Bay, however, they scored 21 points and had their second-lowest yardage output of the season. Despite their struggles on offense, Arizona could still be undefeated if not for Douglas.

Only 15 seconds were left when Murray took the snap from the shotgun and looked to his right toward Green. The ball came out quickly, with Murray looking to make a back-shoulder throw. However, Green did not have his head turned, which allowed Douglas to get a hand on the ball. Douglas tipped the ball to himself and made the interception that sealed the win for his new team.

After the game, Douglas could only describe how he felt with one word: “blessed.”

The Packers are blessed to have found such a valuable veteran contributor at a premium position on defense.

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