Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Three Keys For Carroll


Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Nolan Carroll has been hyped up by coaches and teammates alike ever since training opened up back in April. Billy Davis says he’s had “one of the best offseasons I’ve ever been around.” Carroll has been winning all the Chip-Kelly designed competitions, took a stranglehold of the starting job opposite Byron Maxwell from the jump and, if you believe those who are around him on a daily basis, is poised for a bust-out campaign.

So what’s happened? How did Carroll go from a guy who couldn’t unseat Bradley Fletcher to the talk of the Eagles’ locker room?

There are a few different factors at play here. The first is health. Carroll sustained what he described as a “lower leg injury” last summer and was sidelined for part of the preseason. Turns out, he didn’t fully recover until Week 4 or 5.

“That’s kind of what set me back going into the year. I guess I was playing catch-up most of the year, so this year I made a concerted effort to stay as healthy as possible.”

Asked what measures he’s taken to try and maintain that health, Carroll poked his head out of his locker stall, looked up at the clock on the wall and replied, “Well, I was about to go see my acupuncture doctor. That’s pretty much the reason why I’ve been so healthy because I’ve been seeing him.”

The six-year vet says he typically visits with the acupuncturist twice a week for an hour-and-a-half a pop “just to keep my body even keel.” So far, it seems to be working for him.

The second piece has to do with a change in technique. According to Malcolm Jenkins, Carroll has really taken to Cory Undlin‘s coaching and has changed his approach to press coverage. The safety explained that Carroll previously was a “soft-press type of guy,” meaning he’d typically back up when the ball is snapped. Now he’s more square and patient at the line of scrimmage, making it easier for him to get a solid jam on receivers.

“He’s making them take radical releases to get around him, and that throws off the timing and rhythm of the offense,” said Jenkins.

The third part is related to an elevated work ethic. Last season didn’t go the way he envisioned when the former Dolphin chose to sign here in free agency, and he grew determined to prevent history from repeating.

“He’s been killing it in the weight room, his attention to detail in the meetings and then what he does in practice has really been huge,” said Jenkins.

Carroll flashed in the Baltimore game, showing off his improved technique and ball skills to set up the Walter Thurmond interception.

Thurmond INT

It’s to be determined how this all translates come the regular season. But the buzz surrounding Carroll is as loud as it’s ever been.

“His corner play right now is a lot better than we had at any point last year,” said Jenkins. “And so that’s exciting. You put him next to Byron and you’ve got two quality corners I think. I’m not sure we’re afraid to match up with anybody.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Barring a monsoon, Sam Bradford expects to play this Saturday in Green Bay.

“He fits exactly what we’re looking for at the inside linebacker position.” Chip Kelly speaks on Mychal Kendricks‘ contract extension.

DeMeco Ryans gives us a look into the mind of a linebacker in the moments before a snap.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Speaking of Carroll:

Jeff McLane tackles how wide receiver Miles Austin is fitting in with the Eagles thus far.

Matthews, who is primed to become the Eagles’ No. 1 target in his sophomore season, said Austin was the team’s “most crafty wide receiver.”

“I see him doing one-on-ones every day and guys have the hardest time covering Miles Austin more than anybody,” Matthews said.

“He’s our 31-year-old receiver. Think about it. That’s a good asset to have when he comes into the game. He can play outside and he can play inside.”

COMING UP

An off day for the Eagles as they travel to Green Bay, but we’ll get you your fix.