When asked about rookie third-round cornerback Rasul Douglas on Sunday, the first word defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz thought of won't instill much confidence.
"Inconsistent," Schwartz said.
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That's not to say Douglas hasn't had good moments. He has.
But for every good moment, it seems like there's been a bad one. For every time he nails his technique, it slips somewhere else. Every time he looks like he might be a viable option to play a lot this season, he starts to look like a rookie again.
"I'm sure he would tell you the same way," Schwartz said. "He's not only trying to learn all the nuances of the scheme, he's trying to be consistent with technique. Sometimes I think it feels like every time he gets like a finger in the dyke, so to speak, another leak pops somewhere else, and that's what happens with rookies. I think somewhere along the line for Rasul, the game will slow down a little bit."
The game hasn't slowed down for Douglas yet. Schwartz remembered how confident and competitive the West Virginia product was at rookie camp in the spring. The problems came when the defense started getting more complex and the competition became more intense.
Schwartz made sure to point out that Douglas' struggles are not his alone. He said just about every rookie goes through the same thing.
"It's that rookie part about it," second-year cornerback Jalen Mills said. "It's those growing pains. Me just being in his position last year, I remember each and every day I would feel like I made a great play and then the next play I would mess up on something and Coach Schwartz and Coach Corey (Undlin), they were chewing me out. You want to play up to that high level, those high expectations that Coach (Doug) Pederson and the defensive coordinator and your DB coach have."
Mills agreed that even though rookies know every other rookie goes through something similar, it doesn't offer any solace when you're the one going through it. It's tough.
For Douglas, that's just his reality right now. Things aren't coming easily. Schwartz said Douglas "is not there yet."
"I feel like once you get over that hump, it's smooth sailing and it's just football and having fun," Mills said. "But you have to get over the hump."
There are plenty of reasons to think Douglas will eventually find his way. After all, he was a third-round pick for a reason. He did lead the nation last season with eight interceptions. And it's not like he's been a disaster at training camp. He's learned his playbook and he's made some plays.
Now, it's all about making them consistently.
"I just have to be the same player every day," Douglas said. "Just keep working."