Carroll Keeps Delivering In Secondary

Posted Nov 26, 2013

Fourth-year cornerback is coming off his best game of the season.

Nolan Carroll goes about his work quietly and maintains his humble demeanor on and off the field, but he could legitimately pound his chest a little after last week’s outing against the Carolina Panthers.

Starting his seventh game of the season in place of the injured Dimitri Patterson, Carroll intercepted Panthers quarterback Cam Newton once late in the first half and set up the offense at Carolina’s 11. He also broke up four passes, had three solo tackles and nearly picked off another one, drawing praise from defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.

“I think Nolan had his finest game since we’ve been here as a staff,” Coyle said. “He contested throws all day. I think he had his hands on four passes. He made that big-time interception closing on that seam-ball, which was a dangerous throw, and he showed his speed and athleticism coming across to make that play. I was really proud of the way he played. I thought he stepped up and had his best game.”

Carroll now has two interceptions on the season, which is the first time in his career he has had multiple interceptions. He picked off a pass in the season opener at the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter and is widely considered the fastest defensive back in Miami’s secondary.

Last week, Coyle put Carroll on Panthers speedster Ted Ginn, Jr., quite a bit and he helped hold the former Dolphin to just three catches for 11 yards with a long of eight yards on 10 targets. Ginn only got behind Carroll with any kind of separation once but the ball was overthrown and Carroll isn’t afraid to admit he likes those kinds of challenges.

“I do to a point but at the same time I just know that most of the time I’ll just be getting a lot of deep routes and that’s what I prepare myself for,” said Carroll, who also has 28 tackles (27 solo) and one sack. “Me going against Mike Wallace every single day in camp kind of helps with me that. I think he’s the fastest guy in the league so really anybody else that I face, they’re not really as fast because I’ve run with him all the time and he’s done a good job preparing me this season for whoever their fastest guy may be. So I’m confident every time I line up against somebody that you’re not going to outrun me.”

Wallace has been impressed with Carroll’s intelligence and his instincts from the cornerback position and also enjoys going up against him. He also pointed to his teammate’s patience in coverage as a big asset.

When it comes to speed, as confident as Wallace is in his own ability to get behind any secondary he is just as confident that Carroll will make it tough on just about anyone else.

“He’s definitely up there. He’s got 10.1 speed (in the 100 for sure and he’s a fast guy,” Wallace said. “Every cornerback gets beat deep sometimes but I don’t think you’re going to see Nolan get beat too often deep. He’s very patient, he’s a strong guy and once he gets his hands on you it’s going to be hard for you to move down the field at the pace you want and he does a good job at taking the right angles. He knows how to cut you off, he knows how to use the field and he knows how to use the sideline as his help.”

Carroll has always had that speed and felt sure of himself when it came to pass coverage and tackling. If there was one area he was concerned with and wanted to see improvement it was how he played the ball in terms of coming down with interceptions or key breakups.

“That’s something I really didn’t really do too well my first couple of years,” Carroll said. “It was all just making sure he didn’t catch the ball and I was never really looking back at the ball. I think I’ve done that more this year than I have in the past and I think that’s helped me out the most. That’s why I’ve been able to make plays on the ball the way that I have.”

This Sunday at the New York Jets, Carroll will be counted on yet again to make even more of those big plays.

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