GREEN BAY, Wis. – On Wednesday, Aaron Rodgers in contrast Rasul Douglas to Charles Woodson.
Charles Woodson! Corridor of Fame!
In 2009, Woodson led the NFL with 9 interceptions and was named the NFL Defensive Participant of the 12 months. Douglas was 15 on the time.
“I’ve seen slightly bit” in that point, Douglas stated at his locker Thursday. “Among the finest. Good, is aware of the place the soccer is, nice ball expertise, can at all times get the ball and go to the home. That is one of the best factor about being a DB. It units you up on the prime of the DB when you’ve got ball expertise and return expertise as nicely.”
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Woodson, who was inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame final 12 months, ranks fifth in NFL historical past with 65 interceptions and second with 11 interception returns. Douglas, regardless of becoming a member of the Packers in October and taking part in in simply 12 video games, ranked fourth within the NFL with 5 interceptions and led the league with two sixes.
So, except for Woodson’s quite important change in intercepting passes and scoring touchdowns 12 months after 12 months, possibly what Rodgers stated the opposite day wasn’t so meaningless.
“Rasul is without doubt one of the smartest guys I’ve ever performed with. He jogs my memory rather a lot within the deepest respect of Charles Woodson,” Rodgers stated. “He has unbelievable expertise with the ball. He baits you in observe. He has the aggressive fireplace that Charles did.”
There isn’t a approach the Packers may have completed 13-4 and gained the No. 1 final 12 months if not for the fantastic addition of Douglas. His story is famous. Or, to adapt Woodson’s “Construct Your Legend” motto, Douglas constructed his personal legend.
Douglas, a third-round decide in 2017 with 29 begins below his belt, was launched by the Raiders and Texans throughout coaching camp and needed to accept a spot on the Cardinals’ observe squad. With Jaire Alexander out indefinitely with a shoulder harm and the Packers determined for a cornerback, normal supervisor Brian Gutekunst made a once-in-a-lifetime signing of types. Douglas had game-saving interceptions in opposition to Arizona and Cleveland and a pick-six in opposition to the Rams.
“I am unable to bear in mind one time that I have been on a group that we have drafted any individual early within the 12 months, or no matter, and so they have that a lot of an impression in your soccer group,” coach Matt LaFleur stated.
As massive because the signing was for the Packers final 12 months, they hope re-signing Douglas will likely be simply as vital. With Alexander and Eric Stokes slated to start out on the perimeter, Douglas has spent most of this summer season holding down the slot.
“I prefer it. Loads,” stated Douglas. “I had enjoyable with it. You simply must continue to learn, preserve doing the little issues.”
Woodson, in fact, dominated within the slot as a move interceptor, run defender, rusher and all-around wrecker. It is a place to play.
“Sure. And that is what I like,” Douglas stated with a smile.
When the Packers signed Woodson in 2006, his profession was going nowhere quick. He completed constructing his Corridor of Fame legend in Inexperienced Bay. In seven seasons, he recorded 38 tackles, pressured 15 fumbles and recorded 9 defensive tackles. Thought-about a badass earlier than becoming a member of the Packers, he grew to become the emotional heartbeat of a group that gained one Tremendous Bowl and contended for a number of extra.
When the Packers signed Douglas in 2021, his profession was additionally going nowhere quick. He intercepted zero passes in 2019 and 2020. The terrible Houston Texans, of all groups, did not assume Douglas was worthy of a roster spot. With Inexperienced Bay, expertise, alternative and training got here collectively. His profession took off.
Rodgers, who final 12 months known as Douglas a “famous person,” struck up a dialog with Douglas on the observe discipline earlier within the week. It wasn’t the primary time and it will not be the final. The ability and expertise of Inexperienced Bay’s cornerbacks will likely be invaluable in getting the group’s new gamers, together with rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, in a revamped passing assault.
“It might need felt like I used to be speaking to him, but it surely was as a lot as him speaking to me,” Rodgers stated. “I like to select his mind due to his skill to see the sport and ideas. I believe it is vital to separate the 2 sides – with their safety, masking and eye self-discipline and a few issues that may assist them. And, as I instructed them the opposite day, you must let me know as a result of we’re attempting to win. It’s not a couple of aggressive benefit in observe. What can I inform these younger guys in regards to the little issues to enhance their route operating, their eye self-discipline and (the) little particulars.”
“It is at all times backwards and forwards,” Douglas stated. “We at all times ask him what he sees once we run our coverages. Typically, I ask him on the facet and even proper after the trip is over, I will ask him what I may have performed higher or what I ought to have performed or one thing like that. When he reads me, I prefer to know what he sees from his facet simply to assist me get higher.”
Rodgers and Douglas get pleasure from speaking. Additionally they get pleasure from particular person battles. Rodgers’ data of protection is famous. Douglas stated he would deliberately line up incorrectly in hopes of fooling Rodgers.
“More often than not, it would not work. However you must give it a shot,” Douglas stated with a smile.
That is a part of the “aggressive fireplace” Rodgers talked about in evaluating the legendary cornerback to the cornerback who had a legendary season.
“I recognize that remark, truthfully. That is large,” Douglas stated. “To be in contrast or talked about in the identical sentence as probably the greatest, you understand what I imply, so I recognize it.”