Sept. 16, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll (28) imitates the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles while scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Does Nolan Carroll Start Over Cary Williams?

Welcome to football everyone. Training camp doesn’t officially begin tomorrow, according to what Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly has told the media. Instead the Eagles players and staff will report in tomorrow and begin practicing Saturday, June 26th. With a sour taste left in the organization’s collective mouth since January it’s great to finally be able to clean the slate for the 2014 campaign. While corner back Nolan Carroll was not with the team last season, the former Maryland Terrapin will compete for a starting role in a secondary that struggled at times last season.

“It’s wide open. We’re all competing for the same spot.” – Nolan Carroll at June OTA’s

Can Nolan Carroll Adjust to Tempo

Free-agent acquisition cornerback Nolan Carroll (28) will have two chances this upcoming season to play against the Dallas Cowboys. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Nolan Carroll and the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles defense don’t have to play quarterback Nick Foles during games that count. Unfortunately for them training camp is a different story. And for Nolan Carroll, he’s going to get a major dosage of an offense that ran a league high 1,150 plays from scrimmage throughout training camp. Fortunately Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis heavily utilizes the type of corners like Carroll. At 6’1 and 205 pounds Carroll provides a big physical body at corner similar to the mold of the secondary in Seattle.

Can Cary Williams Limit His Penalties

While Bradley Fletcher could easily be challenged for his starting role on the left side of the defense, fellow corner Cary Williams, despite his Super Bowl ring, should also be concerned about his job. Last season Cary Williams was called for defensive pass interference three times vs. San Diego. He infamously committed a THE horse-collar tackle against Darren Sproles that hastened the likelihood of a New Orleans Saints victory in the playoffs. And aside from those four penalties, he only committed one penalty that was enforced. So why would I focus on Williams limiting his penalties? The Legion of Boom rule(s) that will surely institute a closer watch by officials of defensive holding and illegal contact. And Cary Williams is very guilty of committing these non-called penalties. Williams plays the ball well which was made evident by his respectable 12 passes defended in 2013, but if Nolan Carroll can press and jam opposing receivers breaking their timing and routes he could conceivably earn more playing time at Cary Williams’ expense.

“We had him targeted very early as a guy we wanted to bring into this organization.” – Chip Kelly

Will Depth Be Tested Early or Late

When the Eagles had to bring Roc Carmichael into the game against Drew Brees, even Philadelphia Eagles fans had to be calling for Nnamdi Asomugha to come into the game. With the addition of Nolan Carroll the Eagles have four quality corner backs, but the depth chart is often tested during the course of the NFL season. Rookie Jaylen Watkins will be able to provide a utility-man role in the secondary, but counting on a rookie corner can prove to be costly in the pass-happy NFL. Regardless which two of Bradley Fletcher, Nolan Carroll, and Cary Williams emerges as the starters Week One, all of the members of our secondary will be counted on during the course of the season. For Nolan Carroll, he gets his chance to start his quest for both a starting gig and a Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl tomorrow.


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