Dolphins Nolan Carroll Needs to Step It Up
Starting 3 and 0 is exciting. We haven’t had this type of hype surrounding our team since 2003….think about that for a second, which is over a decade ago. Things are a little different in Miami; there is a sense of brotherhood that our defence is starting to implement. This new methodology is being implemented by Cameron Wake. Word spread late last week about this new nickname that our starting D is calling themselves. You have to earn your strips though, not every player was given a brotherhood T-shirt, according to Wake you have to earn the respect of your brother to gain access to this fraternity. One player that is most likely still on the outside trying to look in is Nolan Carroll.
Carroll a former 5th round pick in the 2010th NFL draft, has started making his way up our depth chart throughout his tenure with the Miami Dolphins. Carroll gained respects of our coaches based on his “Yes Sir” and “Understood Sir” responses while fielding criticism on his play on the field. Coaches love this type of attitude as it marks the player as a coachable player. However, sometimes having the right attitude within the classroom doesn’t relate to positive play on the field. Carroll has been promoted, to the starting cornerback position not based on his play on the field, rather due to the fact that he is the last man standing…literally.
We are seeing our injury bug hit our cornerbacks. Will Davis our promising ball hawk cornerback is still limited in practice, Jamar Taylor our 2nd round pick is now dealing with hamstring problems while trying to recover from his surgery this past offseason. Dmitri Patterson, who had one of the best games of his career in the NFL season opener against the Cleveland Browns hasn’t played since then. Injuries are expected, but I haven’t seen the injury bug hit only one specific position like this…ever.
Now that we understand that Carroll has not earned the position rather been handed his starting role, opposing teams are starting to take notice. If we review Atlanta game or even the Indy game opposing coaches are attacking Carroll citing him as the weak link within our secondary. In two Wide sets, quarterback are not looking at our new starting cornerback Brett Grimes, rather they are focusing on the match up against Nolan Carroll, as they should.
Matt Ryan saw this first hand last week, as he targeted Julio Jones and Rody White, when Carroll was lined up against them, the previous week we saw Andrew Luck target this wide receivers based on the match on Carroll as well.
Carroll is now entering his final year of his rookie contract, which means he is not only playing for a new contract, but to show he deserves a respectable contract. Based on his play on the field right now, I doubt there would be many teams lining up for his services. I am not trying to knock Carroll down, rather trying to ignite his desire to want to succeed. Carroll best asset like the majority of our cornerbacks is his speed. His shadowing technique has improved throughout the years; however he is still getting beat by double moves and jam coverage breaks by opposing players. There is only one way to correct these liabilities and that is by studying. Carroll needs to become a better student of the game and understand tendencies, patterns and habits of his upcoming opponents. Film studies are the best way to correct this; you can also work with your experienced teammates and pick their brain on how to prepare.
However, I can understand that this is the first year that we have added a player that has a proven NFL resume. Brett Grimes has been a former pro ball player; he’s played in the NFL post season and understands what it takes to step up his game. Last year, Carroll was paired with Sean Smith, who basically came into the league at the same time as him, as such, I can’t see why Smith would or even could play the mentor role to Carroll.
Bottom line until our prospective blue chip prospects start to heal, we are going to have to deal with Nolan Carroll as our starting cornerback. It is now up to Carroll to show that he deserves the spotlight and to prove not only to himself but to his teammates that he has the desire to be a focal point of this team, otherwise, he will always be on the outside trying to look in as the brotherhood moves on.