For Nolan Carroll II, much of this spring has been about getting used to a new environment.
The 27-year-old cornerback spent his first five NFL seasons with the Dolphins before signing with the Eagles this offseason. And he’s taking note of the differences.
“I really think it’s the assessments that we do every morning,” Carroll said when asked what the biggest adjustment has been. “You have to really have in your mind to do it every day. You’ve gotta do your heart rate stuff. You’ve gotta do your hydration. You’ve gotta do your questionnaire. And you’ve gotta weigh in.
“Those are the things that normally when you come in, you don’t do stuff like that. You come in the building, probably get in the hot tub, relax at your locker. Now you’ve gotta do all those things. But ultimately it’s helping you in the long run because they’re trying to monitor your body and trying to see how you are, how you’ve recovered from the previous day. If you haven’t recovered, they’re gonna try and find a way to help you recover.”
Asked specifically about the questionnaire, Carroll added: “Just if you’re sore, how many hours of sleep did you get, what’s sore on your body. You kind of tell them your quads are sore, your feet are sore, your knees, your shoulders, whatever it might be. And if it’s really sore, then they’ll try and take care of you.”
While the sports science change-ups might have taken some getting used to, Carroll looked like a fit right away on the field during the practice sessions to the media. Lining up mostly at left cornerback with the second team, he consistently got his hands on the football – something that can be difficult, given the no-contact, no-press nature of OTAs and minicamp.
Carroll said the Eagles’ scheme reminds him of what he played under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in 2010 and 2011. Last year, Carroll started 12 games and appeared in all 16. The Eagles return starters Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher from a year ago, but Carroll has a chance to push them this summer.
“We had him targeted very early as a guy we wanted to bring into this organization,” Chip Kelly said. “I think he’s got the requisite length that we are looking for at the corner spot, especially as an outside corner. He’s an outstanding special teams player, been one of the top gunners in the league, and obviously improvement in special teams was a big thing for us. Love his competitive makeup. Talked to his coaches at Maryland about what type of player he is and what type of person he is.
“Like anybody else, and we had some questions earlier about why a guy is here, is that they are all competing for starting jobs. He’s getting every opportunity. I’ve been really impressed with Nolan the short time we’ve had him here, and I know you guys have noticed he’s stuck out and excited about where he’s headed.”
At the very least, Carroll gives the Eagles cornerback depth as the No. 4 guy behind Williams, Fletcher and Brandon Boykin. He potentially could give Billy Davis the option to play more dime as well – something the Eagles stayed away from in 2013.
But if Carroll picks up this summer where he left off in the spring, he could be looking at an even bigger role.
“I’m trying every day to find a way to stick out,” he said. “I don’t ever settle. I know I’m the new guy. I feel like a rookie a little bit, just trying to get my place out here, getting guys to notice, hey I’m here. That’s all I’ve been trying to do every single day this minicamp. But for me, I’m ready to go into preseason games, ready to get the pads on and show what I can actually do overall as a player.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Could the Cowboys’ offense rival the Eagles? Josh has the NFC East roundup.
Will opposing defenses slow down the Birds this year?
Taking stock of where the seven players the Eagles drafted stand going into training camp.
Some great photos from last week’s minicamp.
T-Mac offers some parting thoughts from the spring.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com likes what he’s seen from Arrelious Benn:
So far, so good. Benn has made several leaping/sliding catches, and looks like his recovery from that ACL tear went well. My sense is that Benn will have to significantly outplay Smith and Maehl to earn a job, as durability concerns remain, but he is off to a good start.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz on Matt Barkley:
The larger issue here is that Barkley shouldn’t let the media get to him. If he’s going to have a lengthy NFL career, Barkley has to learn to roll with the punches. I know that is easy for me to say that since Barkley is the one getting ripped on, but that’s life in the spotlight. You have to let people say what they want.
Slow time? We’re not familiar with that phrase. Birds 24/7 will continue to churn out content between now and training camp.